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Old 09-02-2013, 04:12 PM   #1
atmuscarella
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OTA Roamio review & comparison to S3 & S4 TiVos

Hello all,

I received my Roamio on Friday (9/30). I also have a Premiere, TiVo HD, & Original Series 3 all used for OTA only, on the same TV, & fed from the same 4 way splitter.

OTA Reception Observations:
As a point of reference I have intermittent multi path issues and my Series 3 units handle my issues better than my Premiere. Based on the last 3 days the Roamio is better at OTA reception than all my other units. In use the Roamio appeared to be about the same as my Series 3 units (they all were receiving the same channels, as normal the Premiere was missing one of them), however using the signal strength meter on all my units and stepping through each channel (including the ones I don't get) the Roamio was able to lock on several channels that the Series 3 units (and Premiere) could not lock on at all, however the signals were still too weak to produce a watchable picture.
General Observations:
  1. I setup my Roamio without buying service and was surprised to find the only think that worked was the tuner - it would not record or provide access to any apps without service
  2. Upon ordering Lifetime service it only took secs for the box to be activated. In less than 1 hour I was able to transfer files from my other DVRs and computer. I was also able to transfer seasons passes on line and setup podcast downloads.
  3. Boot time is about 3.5 minutes.
  4. I could not change the Roamio's remote address with the Roamio's remote. Of course my other TiVos did not respond to the Roamio's remote however the Roamio did respond to all my other TiVo's remotes.
  5. The coax cable end and area around the tuner connection is worm to hot and much wormer than any of my other TiVos.
  6. Streaming a show from my Premiere actually provides a superior experience as compared to using the Premiere directly. Accessing the Premiere from the Roamio is like accessing a menu option on the Roamio itself - fast.
  7. Pandora - is flaky on my Roamio - has not caused a reboot but is not working very well.
File Transfer Rates (MRV), all values are rounded to a whole number:
  1. Roamio to Computer = 93 Mb/s (using free TiVo desktop)
  2. Computer to Roamio = 93 Mb/s (file was uploaded to computer from Premiere using TiVo Desktop).
  3. Premiere to Roamio = 80 Mb/s
  4. TiVo HD to Roamio = 30 Mb/s
  5. Original Series 3 to Roamio = 30 Mb/s
  6. Series 2 to Roamio = 3 Mb/s (yes that is correct).
Conclusion:
The Roamio appears to be an excellent OTA DVR. It is fast and a joy to use.

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Last edited by atmuscarella : 09-03-2013 at 08:53 AM. Reason: Updated to add Pandora issue
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Old 09-02-2013, 04:17 PM   #2
aaronwt
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The Romaio Plus and Pro are even faster with their gigabit ethernet connection. I got up to 195Mb/s transfer rates to TiVo Desktop with peaks above 200Mb/s.

With the Premiere on vacant channels I got around 87 Mb/s transfer rates to my Roamio Pro. With the Elite on vacant channels I got around 84 Mb/s transfer rates to my Romaio Pro.

I never did try transferring to TiVo Desktop with the Romaio Pro on vacant channels though. But at the speeds I was getting I doubt there would be much difference.

I guess I still need to see what speeds I get going from TiVo Desktop to the Roamio Pro. I'll boot my TiVo Desktop PC and check right now.

EDIT: For some reason I cannot see my TiVo Desktop shows on my Romaio Pro. Something shows up that says " My Videos(DVR)" at the bottom of the My SHows list but it only has a TiVo Welcome Video from 2009. I'm not even sure where that is on my TiVo Desktop machine.

So I initiated another transfer to my TiVo Desktop machine and this time checked the speed of the transfer from the Network Diagnostics screen on my Roamio Pro like I did the other transfers. It shows a transfer rate of 190Mb/s in the section "copies to a remote device". So that should be more accurate since it's an average than what I a was looking at on the PC where I would see the speed fluctuations.

Still 190Mb/s transfer rates are easily the fastest transfer rates I've seen from a TiVo.
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Last edited by aaronwt : 09-02-2013 at 04:39 PM.
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:13 PM   #3
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The Roamio Plus is much faster on the network than my XL4 was! I guess the Roamio Base will be constrained by its 10/100 ethernet.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:20 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atmuscarella View Post

4. I could not change the Roamio's remote address with the Roamio's remote. Of course my other TiVos did not respond to the Roamio's remote however the Roamio did respond to all my other TiVo's remotes.
The Roamio remote will not change the remote address of a TiVo while the Roamio remote has RF control enabled. Turn off RF on the Roamio remote and you can use it in IR mode to ontrol both old and new TiVos, including switching the remote address to control different TiVos in the same room.

I suspect the Roamio remote does not output TiVo IR commands while RF mode is enabled.

TV and AV receiver IR commands do work while in RF mode.

Last edited by Thom : 09-02-2013 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:01 AM   #5
tenthplanet
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Thanks for the review atmuscarella, I too have a Premiere and and an HD on OTA and have my battles with multipath. Sounds like the OTA Roamio will help.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:38 AM   #6
atmuscarella
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thom View Post
The Roamio remote will not change the remote address of a TiVo while the Roamio remote has RF control enabled. Turn off RF on the Roamio remote and you can use it in IR mode to ontrol both old and new TiVos, including switching the remote address to control different TiVos in the same room.

I suspect the Roamio remote does not output TiVo IR commands while RF mode is enabled.

TV and AV receiver IR commands do work while in RF mode.
Thanks I assumed that was the issue but hadn't investigated any further. I do have the Roamio's remote setup to turn my TV on/off, switch inputs on the TV, and control the volume of my AV receiver. Setup of those features on the remote was easy/straight forward by following the menu prompts.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:55 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by tenthplanet View Post
Thanks for the review atmuscarella, I too have a Premiere and and an HD on OTA and have my battles with multipath. Sounds like the OTA Roamio will help.
That would be my guess, but if a Roamio will actual have better OTA reception than other TiVos that matters, is site specific and is not knowable without trying one.

So far for me I would say it appears the Roamio will end up receiving the same stations as my TiVo HD & Series 3 and at times receive stations the Premiere is not receiving good enough to watch.
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R.I.P. - 08/06 - TiVo
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03/10 - Series 3
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:35 AM   #8
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Is the Roamio OTA Reception still matching your initial impressions?

I have a premier with some occasional multipath issues, basically weather dependent, and trying to figure out if worth the upgrade to a roamio base.

TIA
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Old 10-28-2013, 01:36 PM   #9
atmuscarella
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Originally Posted by Jeff_DML View Post
Is the Roamio OTA Reception still matching your initial impressions?

I have a premier with some occasional multipath issues, basically weather dependent, and trying to figure out if worth the upgrade to a roamio base.

TIA
Jeff
So far my answer is yes.

I have only had one missed show due to reception on my Roamio in the last 2 months which is amazing for me. I checked my reception this morning (stepped through all the channels in settings to see reception strength) and all my local (Rochester NY) channels were rock solid showing between 68 & 72 signal strength. I haven't actually been using my Premiere, but in the past I routinely had issues with reception.
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R.I.P. - 08/06 - TiVo
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03/10 - Series 3
11/10 - Premiere
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atmuscarella View Post
I checked my reception this morning (stepped through all the channels in settings to see reception strength) and all my local (Rochester NY) channels were rock solid showing between 68 & 72 signal strength.
I get these values as well, however, from the same splitter, my tivo hd gives values of 80-95 for the same channels.

Do you also see these differences? I'm not having any issues, but was curious if others see this too.
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Old 10-28-2013, 02:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atmuscarella View Post
So far my answer is yes.

I have only had one missed show due to reception on my Roamio in the last 2 months which is amazing for me. I checked my reception this morning (stepped through all the channels in settings to see reception strength) and all my local (Rochester NY) channels were rock solid showing between 68 & 72 signal strength. I haven't actually been using my Premiere, but in the past I routinely had issues with reception.
thanks
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Old 10-28-2013, 03:21 PM   #12
atmuscarella
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I get these values as well, however, from the same splitter, my tivo hd gives values of 80-95 for the same channels.

Do you also see these differences? I'm not having any issues, but was curious if others see this too.
I have my Series 3 units shut down now also but when I got my Roamio I had all 4 units running at the same time and yes the signal strength numbers in Series 3 units are much higher than the numbers shown in the Premiere or Roamio.

There is no universal signal strength formula, it is pretty much up to the manufacture to make something up - so signal strength is only really useful in telling the difference in various channels signal strength on one device, you can not use it to tell if one device is getting better reception than another.

From memory I think a number in the 70s on my Roamio is like a number in the 90s on my Series 3 units. My Roamio will start to break up when the signal strength is below 50ish and will not show a picture below 40ish (I have some distant out of market stations that will lock and show varying signal strength under 50 sometimes there is a picture and sometimes not rarely are they watchable).
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R.I.P. - 04/04 - Dish 510
09/05 - Humax T-800
R.I.P. - 08/06 - TiVo
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Old 10-31-2013, 03:36 PM   #13
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I just bought a netgear gigibit switch off ebay, and connected my computer to the roamio through the switch instead of the hub I had been using and even though the roamio is only 100mbit ethernet, my transfer speed (using kmttg) went from 67mbits to 88mbits.

I guess the switch is not having the collisions and is now going at nearly the saturation rate of 100mbit Ethernet. I was using the hub before so I could sniff the traffic. But the speed increase is nicer.
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Old 11-01-2013, 05:18 AM   #14
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...and even though the roamio is only 100mbit ethernet...
I thought the Roamio's were 1000. And the Minis are 100. Right? Wrong?
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Old 11-01-2013, 07:57 AM   #15
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I thought the Roamio's were 1000. And the Minis are 100. Right? Wrong?
Plus and Pro are 1000, while the 4-tuner Roamio base model is 100. I believe the Mini's are also 100.
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:04 AM   #16
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I thought the Roamio's were 1000. And the Minis are 100. Right? Wrong?
Roamio basic = 100M
Roamio Plus and Pro = 1G
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Old 11-01-2013, 08:30 AM   #17
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I upgraded to a Roamio hoping the tuner would be a bit better than my Premiere. I have an Antennacraft 5884 strapped to the chimney and I am located in South Jersey about 14 miles from the antenna farm in Philadelphia.

CBS 3-1 was giving me trouble on the Premiere. My wife currently watches two shows and they are both on CBS. The dropouts were frustrating. I installed the Roamio Saturday afternoon and got up on the rrof Sunday morning for a little fine tuning. CBS-3 hits 60 on the strenghth meter. I was relieved that there wasn't a single dropout on Wednesday night's Survivor. The next test is Sunday Morning With Charles Osgood.

The other tuner challenge is the secondary PBS 23-1. That transmitter is 180 degrees from the Philadelphia antenna farm. Since PBS added a Roku channel it's not as critical but it would be nice to have another PBS option.

The last good news was TiVo allowed me to transfer my $10 per moth antennna only service. If they didn't do that, I would have toughed it out with the Premiere.

Cheers, Michael
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Old 09-19-2014, 07:08 PM   #18
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Just to add to the discussion.

I have a TivoHD and a Premiere.
My antenna reception on the TivoHD was excellent.

My Premiere was giving me trouble. Some channels were just dropping out.
This was an apples to apples comparison. Same antenna, same lead. Straight to the antenna, no splitting.

I finally broke down and got a Roamio, because the Premiere was driving me nuts.
I hooked it up, and from a "eye test", its tuner(s) seem better. No dropping out like the Premiere. Even with 4 instead of 2 tuners.

So I'm gonna go with the Roamio, and sell the Premiere. (I'm OTA only, so I don't need the Premiere's ability to do OTA and cable).

If the Roamio runs well for a few weeks, then I'll sell the TivoHD and get a Mini.

NOTE:
The "signal strength" numbers are not consistent between the models.
People who only look at this number will not get the real picture.
From memory, I think the TivoHD gave the highest numbers, Premiere gave the second highest numbers, and the Roamio gave the lowest numbers. That isn't the most important thing is "how high the number is". Again, this is using the same antenna lead, swapping out the units. A big pain in the butt to keep swapping out, but the only way to do an apples to apples comparison. Change the cable with different end-connectors, and the equation changes.

Anyway. Initially I'm very happy with the Roamio OTA over the Premiere OTA reception.
I hope it continues to be that way.

Last edited by sloan : 09-19-2014 at 07:21 PM.
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Old 09-20-2014, 05:32 PM   #19
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Anyway. Initially I'm very happy with the Roamio OTA over the Premiere OTA reception.
I hope it continues to be that way.
That's good to hear. I plan to switch to a Roamio and OTA once my Dish contract is up. I am down the road a bit in Durham, so hopefully I can get good reception where I am.
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