A general theory views the function of all neurons as prediction, and one component of this theory is that of "predictive homeostasis" or "prediction error." It is well established that sensory systems adapt so that neuronal output maintains sensitivity to sensory input, in accord with information theory. Predictive homeostasis applies the same principle at the cellular level, where the challenge is to maintain membrane excitability at the optimal homeostatic level so that spike generation is maximally sensitive to small gradations in synaptic drive. Negative feedback is a hallmark of homeostatic mechanisms, as exemplified by depolarization-activated potassium channels. In contrast, T-type calcium channels exhibit positive feedback that appears at odds with the theory. In thalamocortical neurons of lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), T-type channels are capable of causing bursts of spikes with an all-or-none character in response to excitation from a hyperpolarized potential. This "burst mode" would partially uncouple visual input from spike output and reduce the information spikes convey about gradations in visual input. However, past observations of T-type-driven bursts may have resulted from unnaturally high membrane excitability. Here we have mimicked within rat brain slices the patterns of synaptic conductance that occur naturally during vision. In support of the theory of predictive homeostasis, we found that T-type channels restored excitability toward its homeostatic level during periods of hyperpolarization. Thus, activation of T-type channels allowed two retinal input spikes to cause one output spike on average, and we observed almost no instances in which output count exceeded input count (a "burst"). T-type calcium channels therefore help to maintain a single optimal mode of transmission rather than creating a second mode. More fundamentally our results support the general theory, which seeks to predict the properties of a neuron's ion channels and synapses given knowledge of natural patterns of synaptic input.