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Cheapest alternative to record one channel OTA

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by magicspell, Nov 28, 2013.

  1. magicspell

    magicspell Member

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    Jan 10, 2013
    I currently have a Premiere XL4 plus Mini with Comcast digital cable. This serves 90% of my TV watching. The remaining 10% is satisfied with net options (Netflix, Hulu, Playon, etc). However, there is one channel that Comcast doesn't carry that I am very interested in - Cozi TV. Looking at my choices I've found that Cozi TV is not streamed via the net (that I can find). It is, however, broadcast OTA by my local NBC affiliate.

    I currently have nothing in my house receiving OTA nor any way to record such if I were to get an antenna. I do have an HDHomerun (that I used to use before getting my TiVo) but it only receives channels in the clear from my cable feed. So, my question is what is the cheapest and easiest alternative to be able to receive AND record this one OTA channel? Should I look at a two tuner Premiere unit or a Roamio basic? Each of these will then cost me some kind of subscription (lifetime or monthly). Should I look at some direct antenna feed to my PC? It would be nice to ultimately watch the recorded shows via my TiVo but I do have media players (Roku and WDTVLive) that I could use as well.

    All input greatly appreciated!
     
  2. moedaman

    moedaman New Member

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    Aug 21, 2012
    Which model HD Homerun do you have? Only the 3-tuner cable card version can't record ota signals. Connect an antenna to it and set it up under WMC to record. If it is the cc version, then pick-up a Hapaugge single tuner usb stick and use that. They're around $50 - $70. I have one and you don't need to use it with WMC, since it has it's own tuning/recording software (WinTV7) and recordings are scheduled through the TitanTV website.
     
  3. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

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    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    What he said. If you have the HDHomeRun Dual or it's predecessor model, they'll both do OTA just fine. There are lots of ATSC tuners that can be had pretty cheap that will work with Windows Media Center and numerous other recording programs. If you're running any version of Windows 7 other than Home Basic you already have Media Center on your PC. If you're using Windows 8 you need the Pro version. You'll also have to purchase the Media Center add-on for $10. There are also lots of freeware PVR apps that will also work.
     
  4. magicspell

    magicspell Member

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    Jan 10, 2013
    Thanks for the quick replies. Both of you are right. Since I had only used the HDHomerun with my cable in the past I forgot it had ATSC tuning capability. Looks like this could be my easiest route once I get an antenna. It's a pretty old model (I don't even recall it having two tuner capability like the current Dual model).

    I've never used Windows Media Center before so I hope it is an easy setup. I'm running Win 7 Pro. Is there any program guide built into Media Center or will I have to schedule recordings manually (which is what I used to do with the HDHR back in the day). My experience with using the HDHR was previously on Win XP and I used separate software for capturing the feed. Hopefully setting it up under Win 7 Pro is easy and won't take much instructions. Time to poke around Silicon Dust's website to see what I'll need.

    Thanks again!
     
  5. lgnad

    lgnad Pantless Mofo

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    Feb 14, 2013
    Massachusetts
    You DID ask for Cheapest:

    1. Ota digital converter box - pretty much free if you look on Craigslist.
    2. VCR - ~Free
    3. Homebrew antenna.



    I think I had too much gravy today.
     
  6. mr.unnatural

    mr.unnatural Active Member

    4,354
    5
    Feb 2, 2006
    Ellicott...
    Since you have Windows 7 Pro, you definitely have Media Center. Install the latest HDHomeRun software and go through the setup for the tuners. You may also want to make sure you have the latest firmware installed before running WMC setup. Open Media Center from the Start menu and run the initial setup. You'll be prompted to run the complete setup where you'll specify your zip code. Setup will automatically scan for your tuners and report the ones it found. If you installed the HDHR tuner software and have the HDHR connected to your network it should be discovered and show up in the list. Guide data is downloaded and updated automatically upon completion of the setup.

    If you're not sure how to run WMC setup, do a search and you'll find lots of tutorials that can step you through it. Setting up recordings is similar to using a Tivo. You can set up manual recordings, one-time recordings from the guide, or series recordings (i.e., season passes). You can also set up wishlists for upcoming shows that aren't in the guide yet.

    Once you have Media Center up and running you may want to consider getting a WMC remote and IR receiver. You can pick up a remote and receiver on ebay for about $10-15. I personally prefer the HP IR receiver, as do many others. The receivers connect via USB port and Windows 7 should automatically detect it. You can also get a universal remote and program it for Windows Media Center. The Harmony remotes are easy to configure for this.
     
  7. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay

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    Apr 6, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    Have you tried to research your cable lineup?

    Here in the San Francisco area, for example, Cozi-TV is on OTA channel 11.2, on Comcast cable, it is channel 186. So, its not limited to OTA only.

    You can go through listings on zap2it.com and Tivo relates to their listings.

    What part of the USA are you in?
     
  8. magicspell

    magicspell Member

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    Jan 10, 2013
    Thanks for the instructions. Worked exactly like you mapped it out. Only downside is I can't find an antenna location anywhere in the house that will bring in the single channel I'm interested in:(. I get other channels (various combinations) depending where I position the antenna and they show up in Media Center as you've explained. Of course, all the other channels are available via my cable provider and I have no need to receive them OTA.

    I guess I'll be exploring antenna alternatives now. Thanks again for all the help and guidance.
     
  9. magicspell

    magicspell Member

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    Jan 10, 2013
    I've researched the lineup several times with no luck. I'm in Tucson, AZ. Cozi-TV is OTA channel 4.2 in this area (the local NBC affiliate broadcasts it) but all my searching (online and through both my TiVo lineup and my DCA boxes attached to older TVs) have produced nothing. I have found the other cable provider in this region (Cox) does provide Cozi through their cable feed but my provider (Comcast) does not. Unfortunately, Comcast is the only cable feed in my specific neighborhood.

    Who would have thought this would be so difficult to get one specific channel out of the hundreds of useless (to me) channels I'm bombarded with.

    Thanks for your suggestion though. I'll keep searching and maybe someday I'll find a suitable alternative.
     
  10. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Active Member

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    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    Pickup a single tuner Series 2 Tivo with lifetime (should be under $100) and one of the supported OTA digital tuner boxes (should be less than $25 - there should be a list of the ones that work around the forum someplace) and you should be good to go. I used that exact setup when OTA when digital and I still had a SD TV worked fine.
     
  11. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay

    6,724
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    Apr 6, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    I just entered Tucson, AZ into my Zap2It Ipad app and it shows only Cox and OTA along with a bunch of satellite providers, but no Comcast. Coz 84 is Cozi-TV. Did a Comcast search and all I found was Comcast standard lineup with 74 channels.

    Have you searched Ebay for a Series 3/Premiere 2 tuner with lifetime? You can then add an indoor antenna to record from OTA as well as from cable at the same time. Some cable companies would down scale the feeds ie: 1080i to 720p while OTA would retain the resolution.

    A Series 2 would require a digital converter box to receive OTA and it would be at a lower quality, and maybe letterboxed.
     
  12. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Active Member

    5,717
    16
    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    The channel he wants is an SD sub-channel, that plays older SD 4:3 shows. So it doesn't really matter what he records it with, it is only going to be SD quality and unless it is zoomed it will be letter boxed (on the sides).
     
  13. ThAbtO

    ThAbtO TiVoholic by the bay

    6,724
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    Apr 6, 2000
    SF Bay Area
    I just retired my S2 and it records from the converter box albeit a bit blurry.
     
  14. magicspell

    magicspell Member

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    Jan 10, 2013
    The main problem is finding a way to receive the channel. Apparently the broadcast tower for the signal is only 9 miles away from my house but I must be too close to the base of the mountain it is located on for me to get a signal. I still need to research a directional antenna but according to antennaweb.org there's little hope for me :(. When I put in my zip code it shows me a directional antenna will receive the signal. However, when I refine my input with my exact street address it then removes that broadcast from my reception options.

    Perhaps I can lobby Comcast to add this channel to their Tucson lineup... I know this channel is broadcast in several other regions but according to the Cozi-TV website there is no internet broadcast. Looks like my options may be down to move or give up, lol.

    I do appreciate everyone's input for my quest. At least I've learned a few things along the way.
     
  15. unitron

    unitron Active Member

    16,387
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC

    If the transmitting antenna is on the mountain and you're at the base, then it's probably literally going over your head, so don't aim the receiving antenna at the mountain top, aim it in the opposite direction to see if you can pick up a reflection of it off of something big.
     
  16. Cochrane

    Cochrane New Member

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    Jan 2, 2014
    Magicspell, you don't give your location in Tucson, but if you live in the northwest, KVOA, KGUN, KOLD, and KUAS all have secondary transmitters that send signals to Oro Valley and Marana. They are an alternative if you cannot pick up the main transmissions from Mt. Bigelow. They are located on Tumamoc Hill and you can pick them up if you aim your antenna slightly to the southwest. I live in Casas Adobes and am using an indoor antenna and can pick up all of those channels easily, including COZI TV on 4.2 and KGUN's Antenna TV on 9.2. I can also pick up KWBA 58. Just aim your antenna and rescan and you should be able to pick up COZI TV. You need to use a set of rabbit ears as KVOA's translator is VHF on the physical channel 4, same as the virtual channel. It is broadcast in digital, however, so you will pick up all the subchannels.
     

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