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Old 10-26-2012, 04:06 AM   #1
twobluestripes
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Question Beginner considering a Premiere for OTA only - Questions!

I am looking to say goodbye to my cable TV for good... prices are just too high! $117 for Internet and TV is just upsetting. I hate the hundreds of channels I don't watch! I might say hello again to cable if/when it is channels a la carte... but I'm dreaming there.

But I am a TV addict and adore my DVR. I dislike watching TV on my computers, so I am thinking of taking advantage of the free network TV coming over the airwaves and making TiVo my DVR!

The reasons I am looking at a Premiere and not just any antenna-compatible model are these: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant view. Maybe 60% of the many shows I follow are on Network, but these sites could easily take care of the other stuff for still less than my cable bundle. I could keep my cable internet and stream to my heart's content.

My concerns lie with the OTA setup, however. I don't think I currently have an antenna on my condo roof, so I'll have to find myself a ladder and get my butt up there. I am a total beginner! I know my town of Orange CA is supposed to have good broadcast reception, and the area around my 2nd story unit is pretty flat.
But I grew up in a house in the Nor Cal hills that had an antenna and dish setup from the 70s roughly the size of the Hubble, and we still had snow on every channel. One really LONG thread regarding the signal strength made me kind of scared regarding the Premiere, especially since I am a Network Primetime lover! (Sorry, no link since it's my first post.)
I am also kind of a TiVo beginner; we had the DirecTV TiVo the first time around for quite a few years starting maybe in 2001 or 2002, but we never had the real thing.

Any tips or shared experiences on going OTA or Internet-only, especially with the Premiere, are much appreciated. It would be MAGICAL if there were anyone from Orange County area on here also using OTA.

I want to figure this out in time for the end of the $70 promo on Oct 30, but I'm guessing I might actually have to wait for another hopeful deal on Black Friday / Cyber Monday. Or buy used. I'm actually not adverse to that, but just unsure of a good place to buy a TiVo unit other than eBay.

So not a lot of questions yet, basically since I'm am not even sure what questions I need to be asking! Just looking for advice!
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:19 AM   #2
twobluestripes
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Big Grin

Okay, well here are some specific questions I guess I can start with. Feel free to answer only a few or even ONE if it's TL;DR for you.

Is the $70 price on the Premiere for the Oct sale basically as good as it gets?
Can I find a better price from a reseller or reputable individual?
Where should I shop for a used box?
What are the cons of buying used?

Were the OTA signal strength problems from when the Premiere was released fixed in boxes manufactured later?
What types of setups/locations tend to have these reception problems with the Premiere? Followup: Is a rooftop setup the best option, or can some areas get away with set top antennas?
What are ways that folks have fixed or compensated for this signal strength in order to get a good HDTV picture?

How long has the Premiere and TiVo been integrated with the services of Netflix Instant Watch, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant View?
Is it likely that these partnerships will continue for many years?
Have folks reported any consistent problems with integrating these services unrelated to the strength of their internet connection?

Is the QWERTY remote totally worth the price?
Has anyone worn the buttons out on it, and how long did it take?

Any rumors of another "antenna only" service promotion?
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Old 10-26-2012, 05:25 AM   #3
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I am OTA only (Rochester NY area) and use 3 TiVos an original Series 3, TiVo HD, & Premiere for OTA only.

The Premiere is an excellent OTA DVR however it does have some issues if you happen to be in spot that has reception issues. No way to tell that without trying one.

How well "cutting the cord" will work for you really depends on what you want to watch. I think OTA with some streaming provides plenty of content others would not agree.

Regarding the streaming features of a Premiere (Hulu+, Netflix, ect.) how well they work really depends on who you talk to. TiVo was one of the first devices to have streaming and it seems to be a key item they are focusing on now so I think they will be in the streaming game for a long time. I also think there are better solutions however others are happy with what the Premiere provides. Streaming devices like the Roku are so cheap I don't think it matters much.

Good Luck,
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Old 10-26-2012, 06:01 AM   #4
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If you are looking for a Tivo Premiere for OTA, look carefully as there are several models. The two tuner models work with antenna and cable, but the 4 tuner models do not, only digital cable.

All tivo require a subscription to work properly, if at all.
Prices are $14.99/12.99 multi-service discount for premieres.
$12.95/9.95 for earlier models. Lifetime is also available at $499.99/399.99, applies to the life of the box, not the user.
There are also additional services such as netflix, hulu, which stream through Tivo to the TV, at some additional cost.
These, along with Series 3 model, do not require those converter boxes for OTA, only Series 2 and older require it.

I have been using Tivo for OTA for a very long time, never had anything else, since my boxes are lifetime, the only cost, tv-wise is for netflix streaming and DVDs, $25 just on Netflix.
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Old 10-26-2012, 09:54 AM   #5
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Important to note that as of right now TiVo does not work with free Amazon Free Prime Instant videos. TiVo downloads videos from Amazon, which I actually prefer, but right now they can't access the free streaming. Neither TiVo or Amazon are saying whether or when that might change.
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Old 10-26-2012, 10:15 AM   #6
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before you start talking about streaming and what not, do you know if you can get reliable reception? or what type of bands the stations are on in order to get the right antenna? or which direction to aim your antenna?

go here and enter the information as accurate as possible to see all that data so you can figure out what you need:

http://www.tvfool.com/index.php?opti...pper&Itemid=29

post the full results to get better help.

also, you dont get a snowy picture with digital signals, it either works or doesnt.
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Old 10-26-2012, 11:07 AM   #7
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I've been using my Premiere (antenna only) for almost a year now with no problems. Don't even miss cable. Hopefully the later models of TiVo will allow for antenna only connections?
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Old 10-26-2012, 12:29 PM   #8
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I'm Tivo Premier with OTA only and LOVE it.
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:30 PM   #9
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OTA rules

I have a Tivo Premiere, and have been using it with OTA for um.. almost 2 years.

I will try to address all your questions:

> Is the $70 price on the Premiere for the Oct sale basically as good as it gets?

I think so. If that's a new unit, that's a good price, in my opinion. The $$ however, comes with the subscription.


> Can I find a better price from a reseller or reputable individual?
> Where should I shop for a used box?
> What are the cons of buying used?

It's anyone's guess who is reliable or not. I have had GREAT successes with ebay, but also a few crappy experiences. PRO of buying used: The only box worth buying is one that comes with a lifetime subscription. In these cases, it ends up being a pretty good deal. CON: You're not going to get a new premiere with a subscription, you're mostly going to find previous generation units. BUT, that might not be a bad way to experience tivo for the first time.

> Were the OTA signal strength problems from when the Premiere was released fixed in boxes manufactured later?

No idea. And I was never able to confirm what the "issue" was. My claim is that the premiere's antenna reception blows, unless you have an AWESOME antenna. IN my case, I had a "roof antenna", mounted INSIDE the roof of my garage. That had worked GREAT for everything. Until I got my premiere, then I was having random dropouts and bizarre reception behavior. I finally moved the antenna to the roof, and I was fine. Meanwhile, tons of other people never had this problem. YOUR MILEAGE WILL VARY. No real answer to this.

> What types of setups/locations tend to have these reception problems with the Premiere? Followup: Is a rooftop setup the best option, or can some areas get away with set top antennas?

See previous comments. Rooftop.

> What are ways that folks have fixed or compensated for this signal strength in order to get a good HDTV picture?

> There are tons of antenna forums out there to address with this.

> How long has the Premiere and TiVo been integrated with the services of Netflix Instant Watch, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant View?

A few years I think, but I don't use these. Netflix pissed me off with their rate hikes so I cancelled.

> Is it likely that these partnerships will continue for many years?

No idea. So far, so good.

>Have folks reported any consistent problems with integrating these services unrelated to the strength of their internet connection?

Can't comment, no real experience.

> Is the QWERTY remote totally worth the price?
> Has anyone worn the buttons out on it, and how long did it take?

Don't own one.

> Any rumors of another "antenna only" service promotion?

No idea.

The one thing I will add to this (since you're new) is, don't sign up for a monthly plan. This is a really bad deal, and assuming you are going to stay with tivo in the long run, you definately want to get a lifetime subscription.

Here's the cool thing: The lifetime subscription is a lifetime subscription for THE UNIT. and it is TRABNSFERABLE. So, this means two things: If you buy a new tivo and buy the lifetime sub, then the inherent value of the tivo stays really quite high when you decide to sell it a few years later (for example, you want to upgrade, or maybe you find out that windows media is actually quite good, and FREE).... it ALSO means that if you are shopping for a USED unit, you want one with the sub included.

I'm in milwaukee, and we get a boatload of HD channels. OTA is the way to go. I have never paid for cable, and never will.
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Old 10-26-2012, 01:49 PM   #10
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I love the QWERTY remote not for the keyboard but mainly for the bluetooth capability...it's a lot more responsive than the regular remote, IMHO
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Old 10-27-2012, 08:35 AM   #11
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We did this last June. I bought a cheap indoor antenna to test out our signal strength before I switched, and found we had a decent signal inside. You won't get snow with digital transmissions - either the channel will be there or it won't. And HD is TRUE HD from an antenna - cable can't give you a true HD signal; they compress it to send it over the cable, and then decrompress it in the STB. So our HD now is far better than the HD we used to get.

I did end up putting a small antenna on the roof. It only cost $40 from Amazon - most of the expensive ones are over-kill, unless you live in a remote area, or you need multi-directional feeds. (In some areas, there are different transmitters in different locations for the various services, so that can be an issue).

We get a rock-solid signal and recordings on the TiVo. Sometimes though, the channel info is wrong (currently, ours is wrong for Law and Order SVU) - so the TiVo tries to record it at the wrong time. That's not TiVo's fault; they have to rely on the guides they are given.

The QWERTY keyboard is a must IMHO. It eats batteries, but if you are using Hulu and Netflix, then you are going to want it - the onscreen keyboards are a joke.

We get 13 solid signals (well, 45, but we blocked all the religious and Spanish channels), plus HuluPlus and Netflix. We have more than enough content to watch, and out monthly costs have gone down $80.
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Old 10-31-2012, 10:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twobluestripes View Post
Were the OTA signal strength problems from when the Premiere was released fixed in boxes manufactured later?
No, the Premiere's reception issues have not been addressed, but it's important to note that It's not the signal strength that's the issue but rather the inability of the Premiere to deal with dynamic signal reflections (aka multipath) that occur in some environments. It doesn't matter how strong or weak the signal is if the Premiere constantly drops it due to changing signal reflections in the area.

Quote:
What types of setups/locations tend to have these reception problems with the Premiere?
If there are lots of trees, buildings or hills in the line of sight between your antenna and the broadcast tower, you will be more prone to signal reflections. These can be amplified by wind through trees, overhead air traffic and more. If you have nothing but clear, flat land between you and the broadcast tower, you should be fine.
Quote:
Followup: Is a rooftop setup the best option, or can some areas get away with set top antennas?
If you have access to a rooftop antenna, that should always be your first option. Indoor antennas can work fine, but which antenna and how well depend entirely on your reception environment and will involve time and experimentation to test.

Quote:
What are ways that folks have fixed or compensated for this signal strength in order to get a good HDTV picture?
The stability of the signal is more important than the strength. With digital TV, it's either there or it's not. As long as nothing in your environment disrupts the signal, you should be able to get by with lower reported strengths.

Quote:
Is the QWERTY remote totally worth the price?
It is if you get one that works well. Myself and others here have had ones that glitch after a short while in use, making them more frustrating than the standard IR remote. It seems it's a gamble on if you get a good one or not.

IMHO if you are serious about going OTA-only, the easiest way to ensure the best reception and TV watching experience is to purchase a used Series 3 unit (either the original OLED model or one of the later TivoHD models.) I and many others both here and elsewhere around the web have found that in direct head to head testing, the Series 3 units get better reception than the Premiere units in difficult receiving environments. (See my direct comparison here.)The hard drives on Sereis 3 units can easily be backed up, upgraded and replaced, and there are still sources online for refurbished power supplies should one go bad. You would be missing out on the updated internet streaming providers available on the Premiere, but a Roku or other inexpensive device could easily make up the difference and you'll be getting the best OTA reception performance available from Tivo.
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Old 10-31-2012, 06:01 PM   #13
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If you want to go OTA only, I would reccomend you go to ebay for a series 3 or tivo hd with lifetime. They are great with OTA and you can get a unit with lifetime for around $300. The $60 premiere comes with a service commitment at a high monthly rate. The series 3 or tivo hd with lifetime would pay for itself easily.
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Old 10-31-2012, 07:09 PM   #14
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Ota

Quote:
Originally Posted by poppagene View Post
If you want to go OTA only, I would reccomend you go to ebay for a series 3 or tivo hd with lifetime. They are great with OTA and you can get a unit with lifetime for around $300. The $60 premiere comes with a service commitment at a high monthly rate. The series 3 or tivo hd with lifetime would pay for itself easily.
I agree with this as I have both a series 3 and 4 hooked through my cable coax running throughout the house. The 3 does a much better job of reception. There is at least one thing to consider however, you have to buy a used box. This may be ok or it may not be, depending on what you get. If you live in a fairly good reception area, I am 50 miles from the towers with good line of sight, you will be ok with a directional antenna. Mine is mounted on a 6 foot pole on my back fence running 100' of coax to the cable box. I have a 100 acre farm behind me so I don't have any interference at all, so both do work. Good luck.
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:08 AM   #15
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Regarding the remote: if you have an iPad, the TiVo app gives you a qwerty keyboard for free. I have a series 3, so I can't speak to its functionality with the Premiere, but it works great with mine.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:27 PM   #16
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Wow, this has been a great help so far!

On the streaming: We are already Netflix subscribers, and watch that through my Blu Ray player which has an app for it. Sadly, it has no Hulu or Amazon apps. Amazon would be my number one choice to watch shows such as Doctor Who, The Walking Dead, that would be airing on cable-only channels. It remains to be seen whether we would buy the shows to download from Amazon individually or subscribe to Amazon Prime (which would need a device other than TiVo). (We are not even sure yet that we would need Hulu, but it is very affordable like Netflix Instant Watch is.) If we subscribe to Amazon prime for things like the free movie streaming, I guess we might have to get something like a Roku.

So I guess the point is that I really could find another way around the streaming, and might start looking for an HD or Series 3. I'm beginning to think the Premiere is not really necessary.
It's good to hear you guys speak so highly of the lifetime subscription; I was worried the box device might not last long enough to justify the high upfront payment, even if it would pay for itself compared to monthly subscription charges.
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Old 11-08-2012, 04:50 PM   #17
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Here is my TV Fool chart:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...cc49576a2af2cb

And this is what I looked at before I came here, from Antenna Web:
http://www.antennaweb.org/Stations.a...on=-117.860757

So, it's a pretty straight shot up in that direction towards most of the stations. I live in a 2nd story condo, in the middle of a complex, so that I am surrounded to the north by other 2 story buildings. To the west (about 1/3 mile) there are some taller office and medical buildings, maybe up to 10 stories? To the east (about 4 or 5 miles), it gets pretty hilly. The charts indicate strong signal, but it is hard to tell if I'll have much multipath reflections. And of course they don't account for building penetration, and a small part of the roofing used in my complex is tile roof.

I've never been on the roof, and I think I'm just going to have to suck it up and go up there. There is actually some old coax cable that comes in through the wall in my bedroom, so there's a possibility that it leads to the roof already. I am mighty curious to see if there might be an old antenna or two lying around up there that I just can't see (the only people who ever go up there are the AC guys and Satellite guys).
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Old 11-08-2012, 06:11 PM   #18
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I am browsing eBay right now... Are all of the Series 3 compatible with OTA? I am looking at various units listing Series 3, Series 3 HD, and Series 3 HD XL.
Does just plain Series 3 still record in High Definition even though it is not in the name? Or does only the named "HD" and "HD XL" record in High Def?
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Old 11-08-2012, 07:45 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twobluestripes View Post
I am browsing eBay right now... Are all of the Series 3 compatible with OTA? I am looking at various units listing Series 3, Series 3 HD, and Series 3 HD XL.
Does just plain Series 3 still record in High Definition even though it is not in the name? Or does only the named "HD" and "HD XL" record in High Def?
Yes and without a converter box, records 2 channels at once.


Original Series 3 w/ OLED display



Tivo HD (Series 3)


Tivo HD XL is the same except with a bigger drive and THX.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:02 AM   #20
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I have one Premiere that I use OTA only. My antenna is in my house and I've never had an issue at all with reception once I figured out where to put the antenna.

Right now you can also find the Permiere 45h box at Best Buy on clearance for $70. It might be worth picking one up and trying it out to see how OTA works for you... you can always return and cancel service if it turns out it's not working as you'd wish.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:19 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twobluestripes View Post
Here is my TV Fool chart:
http://www.tvfool.com/?option=com_wr...cc49576a2af2cb

And this is what I looked at before I came here, from Antenna Web:
http://www.antennaweb.org/Stations.a...on=-117.860757

So, it's a pretty straight shot up in that direction towards most of the stations. I live in a 2nd story condo, in the middle of a complex, so that I am surrounded to the north by other 2 story buildings. To the west (about 1/3 mile) there are some taller office and medical buildings, maybe up to 10 stories? To the east (about 4 or 5 miles), it gets pretty hilly. The charts indicate strong signal, but it is hard to tell if I'll have much multipath reflections. And of course they don't account for building penetration, and a small part of the roofing used in my complex is tile roof.

I've never been on the roof, and I think I'm just going to have to suck it up and go up there. There is actually some old coax cable that comes in through the wall in my bedroom, so there's a possibility that it leads to the roof already. I am mighty curious to see if there might be an old antenna or two lying around up there that I just can't see (the only people who ever go up there are the AC guys and Satellite guys).
if you can put an antenna on the roof, thats the best solution. do you have a clear line of sight? tall buildings right smack in the middle? if you dont, an Antennas Direct Db4e might be good. according to your tv fool report, you have two stations in the hi vhf band (KABC 7.1 and KCAL 9.1) so make sure the antenna you get also does HI-VHF.
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