Many TiVo users want Caller ID on screen, but TiVo took that away with Series 4, ridiculously enough! Even though many people switching from cable set-top boxes / DVRs are now used to caller ID on TV, TiVo obviously won't bring it back, and it looks like there's only one outside device that can do it while keeping video at HD quality.
Caller ID on screen is a recurring topic on TCF since the ability was lost with Series 4, but there hasn't been a new solution offered on this board in years.
60% of American households have landline telephone service. Cable TV STB/DVR provide caller ID on-screen for incoming calls, when subscribed to a cable double-play and triple-play bundle with digital telephone service.
Many consumers find caller ID on TV convenient. People who switch from cable STB / DVR to TiVo -- or who cut the cord entirely -- may still want on-screen caller ID. Roamio and Premiere are not hackable like previous TiVo models to add this feature. I found one solution
, a DIY device that keeps television content at HD quality
, called the NeTV
. It is paired with a USB modem or ATA box
(like a Vonage, Obi, or Linksys SPA device) and open-source NCID
software to transmit the caller ID information.
Longtime lurker here. After becoming a cable 'cord cutter' and buying TiVo, I spent hours of research here and elsewhere trying to figure out how to get caller ID on screen.
(Before anyone jumps in with the usual sarcastic quips about caller ID on television, please see my preemptive answers in the section below.)
Most of the threads on TCF addressing this topic -- some of which I've compiled in a list at the bottom -- are more than 2 years old, and have thoroughly hashed out the pros and cons of on-screen caller ID.
As many of you probably know, Caller ID on the TV screen was possible with TiVo in the past with DirecTiVo and with series 1 or by modding / hacking the EEPROM on series 2 and series 3 models.
But that ability was lost with TiVo Premiere and Roamio.
Desire for on-screen Caller ID
A majority of American households (60.6%) have landline telephone service (source: CDC-NCHS, Dec. 2013), with many households using Vonage, MagicJack, Ooma, CMRS Wireless Home Phone by AT&T / Verizon / Straight Talk / T-Mobile / Sprint, or another VoIP provider.
Many people with cable TV with set-top box service have become accustomed to caller ID on screen. It's likely that some people cutting the cord from cable triple-play or double-play bundle service or who are switching from their MSO cable provider STB/DVR to TiVo would like to keep their old 'default' option for caller ID information on-screen.
As other posters have eloquently stated in past threads:
"The TV is the display you're most likely looking at, while in the family/living room. Makes more sense to have caller ID info there, than on a tiny screen on a phone base"... "That way you can decide if you need to get up off the couch, or pick up the phone."
"In my opinion, pausing the current show so that I can find the handset and look to see who is calling is annoying."
"While watching Tivo, my biggest interruption is the phone ringing. CallerID on screen would mean no more pausing and looking for the cordless phone. "
"The Onscreen CallerID is what I miss the most about my hacked DirecTivo.... It beats reaching for the phone to see who is calling, its displayed right on the TV. "
"Have you ever had on screen caller id for any length of time? It can grow on you really quickly. A perfect example of when it is really convenient, sometimes I actually do watch live tv (I know scary) [...] and the phone is on the other side of the room [...]. Wouldn't it be nice to have that information just a glance away? "
Other, old solutions
"The convience would be that when the phone rings, you just glance at your TV to see who's calling you. Instead of having to hunt down your cordless phone and then realize that you got up to find your cordless and you didn't even want to talk to the person calling in the first place. "
I looked at some of the workaround solutions people have discussed previously, but they're ugly.
1. The CallerTV
box, by NetMedia, inserts itself between the TiVo and the television, but uses composite video for it's signal in and signal out (no HDMI model available), which creates an ugly result, obviously. Also, the Roamio doesn't have analog out, so you couldn't use this device (without a digital-to-analog converter or DAC) even if you wanted to.
2. The TelNote
, by Southlake, is just a gawky device (connected only to the telephone line, not the television devices) -- especially to have it sit on or adjacent to your TV in an otherwise sleek entertainment center. (And it's $50-$90+, which is expensive for what it does).
I spent hours looking for a solution that would:
1) place caller ID information on screen, while
2) keeping the video signal in high-definition (HDMI)
I already submitted a feature request through TiVo's website for caller ID on-screen with the Premiere through a TiVo approved add-on device, but obviously that's not actually going to be realized.
The only solution I could find that's for sale at this time is a DIY (do-it-yourself) device called the NeTV by Adafruit. It's a cousin to the Raspberry Pi, which was covered in the tech news a lot in 2012 and 2013.
The NeTV is placed between the TiVo and the television -- it has HDMI passthrough, with an HDMI input that comes from your TiVo or other tuner and and an HDMI output that goes to the television.
You add an analog telephone adapter (ATA) with an RJ-11 jack (to insert the telephone line), so you can capture the caller ID information from incoming calls.
As your ATA, you can use either a USB modem or a full-scale telephony device (I believe that Vonage and Obi boxes and the Linksys SPA-1302 would work). After researching it, I believe that the ATA can be located in an entirely different room (e.g., where the telephone line comes in), and can transmit the caller ID information from the ATA by ethernet or WiFi (depending on the ATA specs) to the NeTV.
There is an open-source software effort (called NCID on Sourceforge) to help with capturing caller ID information from the ATA, transmitting it to the NeTV, and displaying it on-screen. TCF user JLC has written about this effort previously.
For more info, also look at the posts by user TAA on the Kosagi website. Also, TCF user LRHorer has discussed in previous posts how he set up his Vonage ATA to send caller ID information over Ethernet/WiFi to his NCID clients and had the information display on-screen.
Preemptive answers to the usual sarcastic responses
TCF user Tiassa usually jumps into these caller ID threads to say:
"There is this really cool invention called the "Wireless telephone handset". Not only does it give you the caller ID, it allows you to answer the phone as well!"
"Just get a cordless handset...then you can answer the call."
"buy a cordless phone with caller ID display. That way you can not only see who is calling, you can answer the phone as well! "
My response: See other TCF users' response above. In summary, the whole reason I want caller ID on screen is that I'm already looking at the TV screen, so I want the information on that screen.
TCF user AbMagFab has responded that he doesn't have a telephone jack near his TiVo and doesn't want to run a telephone line to the television area.
My response: As I note above, you can keep the ATA device in a separate area near the telephone jack, and it can still transmit caller ID information by WiFi or ethernet to the NeTV.
TCF user Sugarbowl suggested just using the Telnote to avoid the difficulties of caller ID on screen.
My response: I'm not interested in a separate gawky device in the field of vision like the Telnote marring on an otherwise 'clean' looking entertainment center.
Main old threads from TCF about caller ID on-screen with TiVo
"Caller ID and Screensaver?"
"Caller ID on-screen"
"Wife asks where is Caller ID?"
"On screen caller id? "