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Old 08-23-2015, 04:36 PM   #1
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Roamio OTA tuners not good?

Are the tuners in the Roamio OTA not very good? I've installed the new TiVo in the same place I had my HDXL. On the HDXL I could consistently receive 6 additional channels that I can't pick up on the Roamio. Also, there are a few channels that I can get on the Roamio, but they sputter even though while watching the signal strength level, it stays pretty constant.

Do I just have a bad unit or have others seen the tuners on the OTA to be somewhat weak?

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Old 08-23-2015, 06:15 PM   #2
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RE: Roamio OTA tuners not good?

Not very helpful but I think you may be correct. My sony gets more OTA channels clearer than the Roamio OTA. I have decided to fiddle with the antenna rather than switching back to my Series 3; for comparison if nothing else.

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Old 08-23-2015, 06:17 PM   #3
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Roamio has FOUR tuners, which means it must have a built-in 4-way splitter. That might explain why another device with less tuners can see a higher signal level. A 4-way split means the signal is being divided down to only 25% of it's regular level for each tuner.

You can't really compare signal level numbers between different devices, when they are all subjective to whatever standard each of them use.

Try putting in a small distribution amp on your antenna cable, just before the Roamio. It might make a difference for you.

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Old 08-23-2015, 06:27 PM   #4
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Roamio has FOUR tuners, which means it must have a built-in 4-way splitter. That might explain why another device with less tuners can see a higher signal level. A 4-way split means the signal is being divided down to only 25% of it's regular level for each tuner.

You can't really compare signal level numbers between different devices, when they are all subjective to whatever standard each of them use.

Try putting in a small distribution amp on your antenna cable, just before the Roamio. It might make a difference for you.
Here's another example. I have a Premier and a Roamio, both basic units, on one cable feed. Except for the last meter it's the same. The signal on the two Premiere tuners are 75 to 85. The signal on all four of the Roamio tuners are at 90. So, does the Roamio lie? Do I trust the numbers? Is the Roamio connector very warm to the touch? Something to ponder, but there is some posting that Roamio tuners are stronger than Premieres and sometimes don't like a signal of 100. Just search for attenuator and read the posts.

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Old 08-23-2015, 07:27 PM   #5
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Roamio only has digital tuners where as earlier models, (Premiere, Series 3) has both analog and digital tuners. So, those 6 channels that you can get on the Series 3 but not on the Roamio could be analog. There are still analog OTA channels available, but only operating on low power.

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Old 08-23-2015, 09:35 PM   #6
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Re: splitter, I would assume that it's an amplified splitter to reduce signal loss

Re: small distribution amp, I have tried both with and without that already and it doesn't seem to have helped at all.

Re: analog vs digital channels, I'm aware of the difference and these are definitely digital channels.

My next plan is try a pre-amp on the roof mounted antenna to see if I can get more stability.

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Old 08-25-2015, 12:17 PM   #7
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In my personal experience, I found the tuners on my Roamio to be as good as my old HD, and better than my Premier.

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Old 08-25-2015, 12:52 PM   #8
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I don't have the Roamio OTA but I do have the base Roamio and also have TiVoHD and Premiere and all seem to work about the same with my antenna on the roof and as well or better than any other tuners in house.

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Old 08-25-2015, 01:09 PM   #9
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I don't have the Roamio OTA but I do have the base Roamio and also have TiVoHD and Premiere and all seem to work about the same with my antenna on the roof and as well or better than any other tuners in house.
That's OK, because the Roamio OTA is just a basic with it's cablecard connector housing ripped out and a nice green, silk screened "Roamio OTA" logo on the front.

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Old 08-27-2015, 05:34 PM   #10
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I've found the OTA tuner in the Roamio to be as good, or slightly better than my Series3 or TivoHD. Supposedly the S3 is better than the THD, but I have not observed a difference.

This is simultaneously hooked up to the same antenna system.

My observations are not based on the signal meter, but based on when a few of the weaker signals in my area fade out. A while back, I had a recording on one of the weak channels during some pretty good storm activity. During the hour long show, the Roamio's recording lost signal/pixelated through about 60 seconds of the show, and the S3 for about 90 seconds. Thus, for about 30 seconds of that time, the Roamio was able to maintain signal where the S3 was not.

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Old 08-27-2015, 09:46 PM   #11
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Interesting. Because not only am I using the same antenna system, I put the Roamio OTA at the exact same spot in the house - meaning using the exact same cabling - and I'm missing 6 channels and several of the ones that came in really strong just don't any more. And I'm not talking about the signal meter either. I'm talking about pixelation in the broadcasts.

Unlucky me, I guess.

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Old 08-28-2015, 08:18 AM   #12
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Roamio only has digital tuners where as earlier models, (Premiere, Series 3) has both analog and digital tuners. So, those 6 channels that you can get on the Series 3 but not on the Roamio could be analog. There are still analog OTA channels available, but only operating on low power.
oh crap. I was just going to ask about that
Where I live our ABC and a FOX station (I have access to 2 FOX networks) are still analog via translators. I have a HD and a OTA Roamio with 2 different zips in it. My HD has the "local" zip and the Roamio has my old zip in it because sometimes those stations (being 90 miles away) do come in (and gives me the subchannels I don't have locally). I thought of switching the zips on them (since I do record more from the local stations) but if I can't view my ABC (even though its analog) then its a moot point

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Old 08-28-2015, 09:43 PM   #13
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I don't know what happened last night, but I had a show on the local CBS channel that faded out badly (this channel does not usually do this). The recording of this show on the roamio was 39 minutes (out of an hour), and the recording on a THD was 31 minutes, so the Roamio held in 8 minutes longer on borderline signal.

I guess it's time to climb the tower and replace the 30 year old antenna

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Old 08-29-2015, 03:23 PM   #14
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The tuners are definitely weaker in the roamio than in the Series 3. I have signals in the 90's on my S3 and tried 2 roamio ota's and neither got over 72. I rarely got any picture breakup on the S3 and got them too frequently on the roamio.

A tivo tech told me it's because the roamio is all digital but that doesn't make sense to me, but then again, what do i know

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Old 08-29-2015, 04:33 PM   #15
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The tuners are definitely weaker in the roamio than in the Series 3. I have signals in the 90's on my S3 and tried 2 roamio ota's and neither got over 72. I rarely got any picture breakup on the S3 and got them too frequently on the roamio.

A tivo tech told me it's because the roamio is all digital but that doesn't make sense to me, but then again, what do i know
I don't think that's really true. I think it's more likely the signal numbers are re-aligned to a different scale on the Roamio.

IE: 72 on Tivo = 100% on my tv set that's hooked to the same antenna system, on the second output of a 2-way splitter.

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Old 08-29-2015, 05:47 PM   #16
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I don't think that's really true. I think it's more likely the signal numbers are re-aligned to a different scale on the Roamio. IE: 72 on Tivo = 100% on my tv set that's hooked to the same antenna system, on the second output of a 2-way splitter.
And the Roamio has four tuners to share that one antenna signal feed while your TV has but one!

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Old 08-29-2015, 06:43 PM   #17
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And the Roamio has four tuners to share that one antenna signal feed while your TV has but one!
I've heard that the four tuners are fed by an internal POWERED (not passive) 4-way splitter. Is that not true?


I would expect the 4 tuners in the Tivo to read much lower on each ones signal level, (than what people are seeing now) if that signal wasn't boosted through internal gain.

Too many people are slapping up these tiny flat UHF only antennas, and expect it to work as well as just like hooking it up to a cable signal that's hot enough to practically blow the tv set up.

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Old 08-29-2015, 07:37 PM   #18
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I recently added a Antennas Direct ClearStream4 HDTV Antenna to replace a 30 year old Channelmaster. On my 5 year old Panasonic Viera I am getting 55 channels here in Cincinnati including all the Dayton stations which are about 50 miles north of us.

Yesterday I added the TiVi OTA, my first experience w/ TiVo.
I'm running it via HDMI thru an Onkyo Receiver.
Same 55 channels thru the OTA, all in HD, all in Dolby. Well where it's broadcast that way....lol!
I am currently recording one Dayton station and one local during a fairly heavy rain. So I have to say the tuners work just fine. Well and of course so does the antennae setup.

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Old 08-29-2015, 07:54 PM   #19
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I've heard that the four tuners are fed by an internal POWERED (not passive) 4-way splitter. Is that not true? I would expect the 4 tuners in the Tivo to read much lower on each ones signal level, (than what people are seeing now) if that signal wasn't boosted through internal gain. Too many people are slapping up these tiny flat UHF only antennas, and expect it to work as well as just like hooking it up to a cable signal that's hot enough to practically blow the tv set up.
I'm pretty sure the four tuner OTA and base Roamio do not have the amp internally, while the 6 tuner plus and pro do. There was a prior discussion regarding this and differing signal levels between the models a few months to a couple years ago, IIRC.

Even so, an amp can only do so much and it just amplifies the signal AND the noise equally, so a 90% signal level after an amplifier does NOT equal the quality and integrity of say a straight from the transmitter over the air into the antenna 90% signal level. Having a pre-amp at the antenna and then maybe another straight amp inside before any splitters, etc. is a bit better and somewhere between those two.

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Old 08-31-2015, 10:33 AM   #20
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Even so, an amp can only do so much and it just amplifies the signal AND the noise equally, so a 90% signal level after an amplifier does NOT equal the quality and integrity of say a straight from the transmitter over the air into the antenna 90% signal level. Having a pre-amp at the antenna and then maybe another straight amp inside before any splitters, etc. is a bit better and somewhere between those two.
Certainly true. However, a passive 2-way splitter also imposes a *HUGE* loss of signal (3.5db, or roughly 50%). For a 4-way split, it's actually more like 25% of the original signal at each output. The idea behind an amplified splitter is to "turn up the volume" (so to speak) before running it through a device that is known to muffle whatever goes into it. I'm extremely skeptical that TiVo would knowingly take a signal split 4-ways and allow it to end up at only 25% strength at each of the outputs.

Perhaps the amp in the 6-tuner is better than the one in the 4-tuner. But it's really hard for me to believe that there's no amplified splitter in the 4-tuner model. That would be a huge design failure.

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Old 08-31-2015, 02:11 PM   #21
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Certainly true. However, a passive 2-way splitter also imposes a *HUGE* loss of signal (3.5db, or roughly 50%). For a 4-way split, it's actually more like 25% of the original signal at each output. The idea behind an amplified splitter is to "turn up the volume" (so to speak) before running it through a device that is known to muffle whatever goes into it. I'm extremely skeptical that TiVo would knowingly take a signal split 4-ways and allow it to end up at only 25% strength at each of the outputs. Perhaps the amp in the 6-tuner is better than the one in the 4-tuner. But it's really hard for me to believe that there's no amplified splitter in the 4-tuner model. That would be a huge design failure.
There were threads and posts about this shortly after the Roamios came out and if memory serves, I'm fairly certain the base doesn't have an amp. Do some research if you're skeptical I guess. I'm not going to waste my time researching since I'm 99% certain myself.

An easy way to see is to connect a base and a plus/pro to the same cable line and note it's signal,levels on the same channels. You'll see the 6 tuners have much higher signal levels. This test has been done already previously like I mentioned.

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Old 08-31-2015, 06:05 PM   #22
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Firstly, I think thus far it's an unproven assumption that a "4 tuner" tivo is splitting the signal 4 ways. It may very well be that's the way it works, but has anyone shown that for certain?

Is there actually 4 physical tuners on this board, or is what we've been calling "4 tuners" a single tuner capable of simultaneously tuning 4 digital channels? In which case the signal's not actually being "split".

I'm not saying any of what I've suggested is right, I'm just suggesting it's worth re-evalutating some of the assumptions in the discussion. I can take marginal stations that barely come in on my roamio, and move that cable from the roamio to the digital tuner TV. That's a single tuner, therefore (theoretically) 4x the signal strength as the roamio, yet the channel won't come in any better. I just think there's an unproven assumption or two in this thread.


I don't think comparison to the 6 tuner model bears any relevance. The 4 tuner model is OTA capable, which may need to pull in a RF broadcast signal. The 6 tuner is capable only of cable, which while it is a transmission, it's not a broadcast, and that transmission on the line is maintained at proper signal strength by the cableco. There's just not nearly as much reason in that case for signal strength to be a metric of any reasonable importance.

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Old 08-31-2015, 07:59 PM   #23
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Firstly, I think thus far it's an unproven assumption that a "4 tuner" tivo is splitting the signal 4 ways. It may very well be that's the way it works, but has anyone shown that for certain?

Is there actually 4 physical tuners on this board, or is what we've been calling "4 tuners" a single tuner capable of simultaneously tuning 4 digital channels? In which case the signal's not actually being "split".

I'm not saying any of what I've suggested is right, I'm just suggesting it's worth re-evalutating some of the assumptions in the discussion. I can take marginal stations that barely come in on my roamio, and move that cable from the roamio to the digital tuner TV. That's a single tuner, therefore (theoretically) 4x the signal strength as the roamio, yet the channel won't come in any better. I just think there's an unproven assumption or two in this thread.


I don't think comparison to the 6 tuner model bears any relevance. The 4 tuner model is OTA capable, which may need to pull in a RF broadcast signal. The 6 tuner is capable only of cable, which while it is a transmission, it's not a broadcast, and that transmission on the line is maintained at proper signal strength by the cableco. There's just not nearly as much reason in that case for signal strength to be a metric of any reasonable importance.
I agree. As an EE with RF background, it seem to me quite unlikely that there is anything inside the Roamio base/OTA that acts like a 4-way splitter. It is more likely that there is a single receiver and 75-ohm termination with internal buffering so that all four tuners have essentially the same signal level that appears on the RF connector. The four tuners would then each have their own AGC circuit (automatic gain control) to adjust the tuned signal to the proper level for converting the signal to a digital data stream.

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Old 09-01-2015, 05:49 AM   #24
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Firstly, I think thus far it's an unproven assumption that a "4 tuner" tivo is splitting the signal 4 ways. It may very well be that's the way it works, but has anyone shown that for certain? Is there actually 4 physical tuners on this board, or is what we've been calling "4 tuners" a single tuner capable of simultaneously tuning 4 digital channels? In which case the signal's not actually being "split". I'm not saying any of what I've suggested is right, I'm just suggesting it's worth re-evalutating some of the assumptions in the discussion. I can take marginal stations that barely come in on my roamio, and move that cable from the roamio to the digital tuner TV. That's a single tuner, therefore (theoretically) 4x the signal strength as the roamio, yet the channel won't come in any better. I just think there's an unproven assumption or two in this thread. I don't think comparison to the 6 tuner model bears any relevance. The 4 tuner model is OTA capable, which may need to pull in a RF broadcast signal. The 6 tuner is capable only of cable, which while it is a transmission, it's not a broadcast, and that transmission on the line is maintained at proper signal strength by the cableco. There's just not nearly as much reason in that case for signal strength to be a metric of any reasonable importance.
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I agree. As an EE with RF background, it seem to me quite unlikely that there is anything inside the Roamio base/OTA that acts like a 4-way splitter. It is more likely that there is a single receiver and 75-ohm termination with internal buffering so that all four tuners have essentially the same signal level that appears on the RF connector. The four tuners would then each have their own AGC circuit (automatic gain control) to adjust the tuned signal to the proper level for converting the signal to a digital data stream.
While I'm not doubting what you're saying and your knowledge, I also come from an RF background (TV and Radio Broadcasting) so what I'm confused about is how you can then tune into four completely separate digital channels/frequencies without having four different tuner/demodulators?

I could see your suggestions for maybe one channel that has many subchannels since they're broadcast on the same "channel" and center freq, but how would what you're saying work with four totally separate ones?

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Old 09-01-2015, 09:30 AM   #25
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While I'm not doubting what you're saying and your knowledge, I also come from an RF background (TV and Radio Broadcasting) so what I'm confused about is how you can then tune into four completely separate digital channels/frequencies without having four different tuner/demodulators?

I could see your suggestions for maybe one channel that has many subchannels since they're broadcast on the same "channel" and center freq, but how would what you're saying work with four totally separate ones?
There are four different tuner/demodulators, but they can all be fed from a single buffer amplifier without using splitters inside the TiVo. I'm guessing that these components are all inside a single integrated circuit that receives the signal from the RF connector, with a 75-ohm terminated broadband buffer amplifier at the front end so that the coax feeding the TiVo is properly terminated, then that buffer drives the four tuners which each select the appropriate slice of the spectrum to amplify further and convert to a digital data stream.

The external coax needs splitters because coax covers large distances, and the splitters ensure that everything is impedance matched and properly terminated in order to avoid reflections, and to evenly divide the RF power at each splitter. This has a lot to due with the physical size of the coax, where any single segment can be many wavelengths of a given channel frequency, so the signal at the input side of the coax has a different phase than the same signal of the output end of the coax. Inside the muti-channel RF receiver chip, the dimensions are small enough that the signals on a single wire have the same phase at both ends, so that none of the nodes inside the chip need to be treated as transmission lines.

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Old 09-01-2015, 05:59 PM   #26
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There are four different tuner/demodulators, but they can all be fed from a single buffer amplifier without using splitters inside the TiVo. I'm guessing that these components are all inside a single integrated circuit that receives the signal from the RF connector, with a 75-ohm terminated broadband buffer amplifier at the front end so that the coax feeding the TiVo is properly terminated, then that buffer drives the four tuners which each select the appropriate slice of the spectrum to amplify further and convert to a digital data stream.
Wow, it HAS been a long time since I've been through school and was a broadcaster and transmitter engineer!

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The external coax needs splitters because coax covers large distances, and the splitters ensure that everything is impedance matched and properly terminated in order to avoid reflections, and to evenly divide the RF power at each splitter. This has a lot to due with the physical size of the coax, where any single segment can be many wavelengths of a given channel frequency, so the signal at the input side of the coax has a different phase than the same signal of the output end of the coax. Inside the muti-channel RF receiver chip, the dimensions are small enough that the signals on a single wire have the same phase at both ends, so that none of the nodes inside the chip need to be treated as transmission lines.
Finally something I get what you're saying haha!

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Old Yesterday, 02:09 PM   #27
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I also found the tuners on my Roamio to be far better than my old Premier.

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