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Old 01-05-2009, 06:51 AM   #1
wireless200
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which series can decode OTA HD?

Can any of the TIVO beside series 3 (with HD in the name) decode HD OTA channels?

My grandmother has a standard def TV but recently got one of those DTV boxes. Between that thing and trying to record on the VCR - well you can guess the rest...

I was thinking about buying her a Tivo but she doesn't really need the HD at least on output. Looking at the Tivo website it appears only series 3 can decode HD channels.

The thing is, with the digital transition in February, won't that make all the series 2 and earlier Tivos obselete for people who are using them for OTA?
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:07 AM   #2
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Yes - the DirecTV HD TiVo HR10-250. Otherwise, no.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:21 AM   #3
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Thanks Steve, that's an interesting alternative. Are you saying I could buy an HR10-250, set up Tivo service, and use it with OTA (reg and HD) channels without Direct TV? Would there be extraneous Direct TV menus that would be confusing?
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Old 01-05-2009, 08:51 AM   #4
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No, it just happens to to have an ATSC tuner and will "play" from it. You cannot subscribe it to the TiVo service alone for it though, you must subscribe to DirecTV service and their DVR service.

For Standalones, only the HD models have built in ATSC tuners. They work fine on SD sets.

Also, Series 2 models that support antenna have an update which supports many of the OTA convertor boxes in the same manner as a cable box.

If you don't want to invest in a TiVo HD (which is what I would do), you can go about getting hold of one of the older Series 2s that support antenna (on the second hand market). I'd get a 540 unit and put a new HDD in it, possibly search for a Product Lifetime.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:00 AM   #5
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Where can I find a list of OTA converter boxes supported by series 2? I'm wondering if it will support a Zenith DTT901 DTV converter box.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:10 AM   #6
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Found it. http://www3.tivo.com/form-apps/show....italtrans.html

Sounds like my best option is buy a series 2 and let it control the DTV box.
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Old 01-05-2009, 03:59 PM   #7
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The Tivo HD will work on the older TVs, just set the tivo to send 4:3 instead of 16:9. Although the THD only works with OTA and/or cable.
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Old 01-05-2009, 09:35 PM   #8
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How can I tell which Series 2 for sale on Ebay will support OTA. I understand the two-tuner models will not but most ads don't list to that level of detail. Most of them have the hours but it seems the hours are dependent on video quality chosen. If I send a seller an email what should I ask besides if it's a single tuner box to determine if it's the right model?

Also the Zenith DTT901 box doesn't have a serial input. Does this mean an "IR Blaster" is the only way to control the box?
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Old 01-05-2009, 11:08 PM   #9
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Series 2 Tivos will not work after the Feb 17th shutoff without using a DTV converter box. There are codes to use IR Blaster on the convert box in version 9.3.1 of the Tivo software. The codes available are on Tivo.com.

Quote:
Converter box ---------------------- IR Code
Zenith DTT900 and DTT 901 ---------- 10090

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Last edited by ThAbtO : 01-05-2009 at 11:11 PM. Reason: Added Converter box
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Old 01-06-2009, 12:06 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wireless200 View Post
How can I tell which Series 2 for sale on Ebay will support OTA. I understand the two-tuner models will not but most ads don't list to that level of detail. Most of them have the hours but it seems the hours are dependent on video quality chosen. If I send a seller an email what should I ask besides if it's a single tuner box to determine if it's the right model?

Also the Zenith DTT901 box doesn't have a serial input. Does this mean an "IR Blaster" is the only way to control the box?

You hit on the answer. Ask the seller if this is a dual tuner model or a single tuner TiVo. The dual tuners are only meant for cable, and can't be set up to work with antenna. (There are ways around that, but it's not a perfect solution. Far from it, actually.)

As for how many hours involving the video quality chosen, that's the point.

The size of the hard drive will determine how much you can store. The quality setting will have an effect on that too. Set it for "best" all the time, and you can't store as much. Use a lower video quality setting, and you get more time-wise.

Again, ask the seller what the capacity of the machine is, and ask about specific quality settings. (There are four, starting with "best".)

Personally, I've always felt the "high" setting looks as good as "best", so why not use "high" and get as much time on the hard drive as "high" allows?
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Old 01-06-2009, 08:30 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by wireless200 View Post
How can I tell which Series 2 for sale on Ebay will support OTA. I understand the two-tuner models will not but most ads don't list to that level of detail. Most of them have the hours but it seems the hours are dependent on video quality chosen. If I send a seller an email what should I ask besides if it's a single tuner box to determine if it's the right model?
Ask for the first 3 digits of the TSN.
If is 649 or 542, it does not support OTA. Any other Series 2 model (begins with 1,2, or 5) will.

As for capacity, common nomenclature is to give capacity in maximum hours (which would be basic quality) or HDD capacity in Gigabytes, which roughly equates Basic quality capacity.
Quote:
Also the Zenith DTT901 box doesn't have a serial input. Does this mean an "IR Blaster" is the only way to control the box?
Yes. All of the OTA convertor boxes use IR control only.
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:02 AM   #12
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Thanks.

Why is it that the two-tuner boxes can't decode OTA? Cable without a box where RG6 coax straight into the tv uses the same frequencies.

Are there any qualitative differences between single-tuner series 2 models that begin with TSN 1, 2, or 5?
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:59 AM   #13
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Thanks.

Why is it that the two-tuner boxes can't decode OTA? Cable without a box where RG6 coax straight into the tv uses the same frequencies.

Are there any qualitative differences between single-tuner series 2 models that begin with TSN 1, 2, or 5?
The dual tuner model was introduced after the FCC mandated that any device capable of receiving analog (NTSC) also have a digital (ATSC) tuner. Tivo decided not to support OTA and disabled the NTSC tuner. It happens that the lower cable channels are the same frequency as the VHF band so the S2 DT can actually tune the VHF band. For some reason, Tivo felt that supporting DTA boxes on a device not original sold for OTA would expose them to penalty from the FCC.

Series 2 models beginning with 1 have USB 1 (slower), ports while the 2 and 5 models have USB 2 ports. The 240 model has slightly better USB performance than the 540 (nightlight) model.
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Old 01-11-2009, 12:29 PM   #14
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wireless200,

If I were you, I would seriously consider an HD TiVo instead of investing more to lash together the older TiVo with a DTV OTA converter box. Why, because then you do get 2 tuners that can work either OTA (antenna) or cable (with a cablecard, usually about $2 per month). You get true HD recordings for your current or future HDTV and Dolby Digital 5.1 sound. Often times for movies the DD5.1 sound adds considerably to the viewing pleasure.

Of course, you have to decide, but I would invest in moving forward rather than holding on to the past. Just my humble opinion.
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Old 01-12-2009, 10:02 AM   #15
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[quote=wireless200;6985662]Thanks.

Why is it that the two-tuner boxes can't decode OTA? Cable without a box where RG6 coax straight into the tv uses the same frequencies.
[quote]
Because they were made to comply with an FCC requirement that requires a device that tunes broadcast TV have a digital tuner. Being it tunes only cable TV, it is technically compliant with the law.

After Ch13, cable and OTA frequencies are different, for the channel number.
Quote:
Are there any qualitative differences between single-tuner series 2 models that begin with TSN 1, 2, or 5?
Not a whole lot.
As said, the 1xx units have USB 1.1, the 2xx units have USB2.0 The latter also have better cooling and PSU. Otherwise, they have the same basic components, and since 7.x, use the same software build.

5xx units use an integrated CPU/Video Decoder/USB controller, so may be a bit slower at some things, an bit better at others. They also introduced PROM security with 540 unit, making it harder to hack them, except for drive upgrades.
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Last edited by classicsat : 01-12-2009 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 01-13-2009, 06:44 AM   #16
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I decided to go ahead and buy her the HD model. She doesn't have a hi-def tv but she has a high-end Sony tube tv. I decided she didn't need to hassle with the IR blaster, etc. She's in her late 80's. I bought the HD off Amazon for $249 no taxes and free shipping. I'll just buy a year or multiyear service for it. This way she won't feel there's any money being charged. You know how people are who've lived through the depression... they don't think money grows on trees and all that. If the new administration promises a Tivo in every home to help people get through the hard, hard times then I'm going to be mad.

I'm going to have to talk my mom through it over the phone. She's going to try to set it up. I'm hoping that on-screen menu is friendly. Thanks for all the advice.
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Old 01-13-2009, 08:52 AM   #17
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I bought the HD off Amazon for $249 no taxes and free shipping. I'll just buy a year or multiyear service for it.
Note that if you are considering getting the 3 year subscription, the Lifetime is only $100 more.

I couldn't determine if you were already a TiVo subscriber or not, but if you are, an additional Lifetime subscription is only $299 plus the cost of the box.
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:14 AM   #18
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I notice lifetime subscriptions are available on ebay for low $300s. Any reason to not go that route?
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Old 01-13-2009, 07:43 PM   #19
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I notice lifetime subscriptions are available on ebay for low $300s. Any reason to not go that route?
If you are not a current TiVo subscriber, or you are purchasing a refurb through TiVo.com, a Lifetime subscription is $399.

It's up to you to determine if you are willing to risk a fraudulent sale to save less than $100.
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Old 01-13-2009, 09:53 PM   #20
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[...]

It's up to you to determine if you are willing to risk a fraudulent sale to save less than $100.
Well, it's close to $75 of savings and the sellers have plenty of feedback from satisfied customers. I think the chance of fraud is low especially with 100% postive feedback sellers. Is their something wrong or illegal with doing it this way?

I bought my Tivo off Amazon for a decent amount less than Tivo was selling it for and they are a legit outfit. What's the difference on how service is obtained? Surely Tivo is complicit with it - otherwise they wouldn't have go through with it would they?
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:00 PM   #21
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I went ahead a bought a year subscription off the Tivo web site. Figured the player would be obsolete before the price of a lifetime sub was used up in yearly subscriptions.

They hooked it up today and it seems to be working ok. They're in another state so I'm not there to help.

About the only problem they have is the Sony standard def TV is displaying hi-def content in letterbox. Pressing the aspect ratio button and changing the smart screen settings don't change anything. They have it going in by component video. The SD Sony accepts HD input resolutions through component. The Sony TV owner's manual doesn't really say how to prevent letterbox, only that it'll display it.

What settings should I set the Tivo to to let the regular 4:3 content go out as 4:3 and the 16:9 to be 4:3 as well? I'd like to leave the hi-def input to the TV but in the 4:3 size. Is that possible? Also should I keep trying to use the component input or switch to S-video (480 only)? I'm guessing I need to just set the Tivo output to 480i. I wanted to avoid that because I think the other resolutions will give a better picture. Just don't want the bars on top and bottom.
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:21 PM   #22
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4:3, but not smart screen.
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Old 01-17-2009, 11:43 PM   #23
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I went ahead a bought a year subscription off the Tivo web site. Figured the player would be obsolete before the price of a lifetime sub was used up in yearly subscriptions.
If you plan on going to digital cable maybe, as the next generation promises full two way capability which will allow things like your cable provider's Video on Demand.

But for OTA, it will be a long, long time before a Series 3 becomes obsolete.

Quote:
About the only problem they have is the Sony standard def TV is displaying hi-def content in letterbox. Pressing the aspect ratio button and changing the smart screen settings don't change anything. They have it going in by component video. The SD Sony accepts HD input resolutions through component. The Sony TV owner's manual doesn't really say how to prevent letterbox, only that it'll display it.

What settings should I set the Tivo to to let the regular 4:3 content go out as 4:3 and the 16:9 to be 4:3 as well? I'd like to leave the hi-def input to the TV but in the 4:3 size. Is that possible? Also should I keep trying to use the component input or switch to S-video (480 only)? I'm guessing I need to just set the Tivo output to 480i. I wanted to avoid that because I think the other resolutions will give a better picture. Just don't want the bars on top and bottom.
When viewing an HD channel with a 4:3 TV, the only way to display the full image without distortion is to letterbox. There is zoom but that cuts off much of the image. In such a case you will still get a letterboxed image even if the TiVo is set to Fixed 480i.

This becomes a problem when watching an unstretched SD program on an HD channel. Side bars are added to such programs, and when viewed on a 4:3 TV this results in an image that is both letterboxed and side paneled, sometimes called "postage stamp" or "picture frame." Zooming fixes this but you lose picture quality as a result.

Last edited by RonDawg : 01-17-2009 at 11:49 PM.
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Old 01-18-2009, 12:09 AM   #24
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4:3, but not smart screen.
Turning off Smart Screen actually enables the letterboxing of HD channels. On means the TiVo lets the TV do any necessary letterboxing if warranted.
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Old 01-18-2009, 01:27 AM   #25
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Well, it's close to $75 of savings and the sellers have plenty of feedback from satisfied customers. I think the chance of fraud is low especially with 100% postive feedback sellers. Is their something wrong or illegal with doing it this way?
The reason I give a warning is because there has been fraud in regards to Lifetime subs, with or especially without the box.

Back when Lifetime was not being offered by TiVo at all, you had no choice but to buy a gift card or pre-subbed box second hand. At that time, Lifetime went for upwards of $700, without box.

But now that it's available from TiVo again, I don't feel comfortable with the risk of buying a gift card second hand. If the numbers have already been redeemed, you can't prove that you didn't use them yourself. At least with a pre-subbed box it's easy to show fraud, as you can only transfer Lifetime under a narrow set of circumstances. And yet fraud has been discovered here too, especially with boxes on their free year of post-transfer service.

Quote:
I bought my Tivo off Amazon for a decent amount less than Tivo was selling it for and they are a legit outfit. What's the difference on how service is obtained? Surely Tivo is complicit with it - otherwise they wouldn't have go through with it would they?
Sales from Amazon and its associated sellers is much safer than eBay or craigslist. Sellers are required to offer a money back guarantee for any reason within 30 days. When I set up my seller account, I had to give them a credit card that they could use to enforce that should I not want to play by their rules.

If Amazon or its sellers offered Lifetime, I wouldn't give the same warning.

But now that you bought a one year instead, it's all moot

Last edited by RonDawg : 01-18-2009 at 01:36 AM.
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