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Old 01-03-2014, 04:29 PM   #1
janthenat
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Premiere worth it for OTA?

I'm considering the current deal Tivo has while clearing out their Premiere models. We're planning to dump DirecTV completely, but we like our old DirecTivo so the natural thought was go OTA with a real Tivo. I've heard so much bad about the OTA tuners in the Premiere I'm wondering if it will be worth the money...?

Should I expect the OTA tuning to be similar in quality to my TV's direct antenna connection?
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Old 01-03-2014, 04:53 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janthenat View Post
I'm considering the current deal Tivo has while clearing out their Premiere models. We're planning to dump DirecTV completely, but we like our old DirecTivo so the natural thought was go OTA with a real Tivo. I've heard so much bad about the OTA tuners in the Premiere I'm wondering if it will be worth the money...?

Should I expect the OTA tuning to be similar in quality to my TV's direct antenna connection?
I have two Premieres and they are OK. Reception comes and goes no matter if I use a indoor or outdoor antenna, and doesn't make much a difference the brand of antenna.

From what I have read here I would probably go with a Roamio if I was buying right now.
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Old 01-03-2014, 04:54 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by janthenat View Post
I'm considering the current deal Tivo has while clearing out their Premiere models. We're planning to dump DirecTV completely, but we like our old DirecTivo so the natural thought was go OTA with a real Tivo. I've heard so much bad about the OTA tuners in the Premiere I'm wondering if it will be worth the money...?

Should I expect the OTA tuning to be similar in quality to my TV's direct antenna connection?
Quality of the picture isn't the issue. The ability to deal with certain reception issues is. If you live someplace where the Premiere doesn't have any reception issues with your antenna setup it is a fine OTA DVR. For me my Premiere has more reception issues than my TiVo HD, original Series 3, or my Roamio and thus was not reliable. There is no way for you to know without actually trying it in your house.
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Old 01-03-2014, 05:45 PM   #4
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I think that janthenat does an excellent job of summarizing the endless threads on Premiere OTA reception that took me forever to read -- the Premiere's reported OTA performance issues relate to its "ability to deal with certain reception issues." If you don't have those issues, then its a fine OTA DVR. In my case, I am in the close-in suburbs, the OTA signal is strong, and I get excellent reception with a (NOT "onmi") directional antenna. I have not tried an omnidirectional antenna, but for all I know it might work. To my knowledge, an exact definition of the Premiere's OTA reception issues was never made. Some suggested it might relate to an inability to handle multipath well -- in order to improve my odds of success, I selected a directional antenna b/c it is better at rejecting multipath. But I don't really know that multipath was the actual problem with Premiere OTA reception.

Given the cost difference b/t the Premiere and the Roamio, I personally think it makes sense to give the Premiere serious consideration as an OTA DVR. Also, the Premiere with OTA capabilities has a distinct advantage over the Roamio--if you have cable, the Premiere can simultaneously serve as the DVR for both OTA and Cable. The Roamio can serve as the DVR for OTA or Cable, but not both at the same time. Even if you don't have cable now, to me it seems better to have the additional flexibility the Premiere provides--assuming you don't have the reception issues that challenge the Premiere (whatever they are).
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Old 01-03-2014, 08:20 PM   #5
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I have one and do exclusively ota and don't have any issues. I'd say it works as we as my Panasonic TVs tuner. I also have a large VHF/UHF directional antenna on my roof and most stations I need are within 90 degrees of each other. I'd check out channel master dvr+ coming out this month reviews look good so far and no monthly fees. Or get the premiere cheap and get lifetime right away.
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Old 01-03-2014, 09:05 PM   #6
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Are these on Tivo's site? I only see 4 tuner models that don't support OTA.
I don't think Tivo has sold the 2 tuner Premiere in a while. maybe I'm wrong.

I'd suggest buying a used 2 tuner Premiere on craigslist or ebay. Many are as low as $40, some with lots of extras, and if you're lucky like me, Tivo might lifetime it for $99 if you ever get a newer model.
my 2 tuner Premiere works fine for ota channels.
good luck.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:24 PM   #7
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Its 50 bucks for two tuner premiere until the end of the month
https://www.tivo.com/shop/promo/holiday2013
How did you get lifetime for 99?
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Old 01-03-2014, 11:59 PM   #8
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I always thought my problems with the Premiere was with weak signal, but I am thinking it is more likely a multi-path issue after reading of people putting attenuators to reduce the signal. And that is why a directional antenna might help.

Premieres usually are listed for higher prices on craigslist, but with the prices at Tivo.com so low, it might help you to get one for $20 or so by bargaining. And maybe with a wireless adapter too. That is what I got. The only problem that I have had with my Premiere was one of them had a fan go bad, but that was cheap and easy to fix.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:03 AM   #9
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Sorry I missed that, $50 for a new Premiere with warranty is the best deal.
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How did you get lifetime for 99?
I bought a used 2tuner Premiere 3 months ago. then I got a lifetimed XL4 off craigslist in Dec. When I went to transfer the XL4 to my acct tiVo offered to lifetime my other Premiere for $99. That Premiere was basically free to get as I sold off some of the accessories it came with. The new XL4 was only $200. the seller paid full price for it in July, but upgraded to Roamios and never even used it.
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Old 01-04-2014, 08:02 AM   #10
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Are these on Tivo's site? I only see 4 tuner models that don't support OTA.
I don't think Tivo has sold the 2 tuner Premiere in a while. maybe I'm wrong.
The base Roamio supports OTA or cable but not both at the same time. It's supposed to have a better OTA reception. So I have read. TiVo has sold refurb Premieres frequently. I bought mine on eBay.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:34 PM   #11
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I have been OTA since late 2009. I bought a Premiere in the spring of 2010. It did its job well with a few headaches along the way. I picked up a Roamio basic and mini this year. I'm still OTA and the mini works perfectly with the Roamio over ethernet. As far as performance goes, the Roamio has been superior to the Premiere in every way. I was wondering what to do with the Premiere at this point. I thought of keeping it for the extra storage. I called TiVo this afternoon. They gave me Lifetime service for $99. Still, I ended up spending more than I would have if I had purchased Lifetime when I purchased the Premiere. Oh well, it provided hours and hours of entertainment. I may sell it now so somebody else can enjoy it.
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Old 01-04-2014, 06:55 PM   #12
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Oh well, it provided hours and hours of entertainment. I may sell it now so somebody else can enjoy it.
Where are you located and how much would you sell it for?
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:11 AM   #13
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My OTA PQ west of Boston is superb? I would not wan to give it up.
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:04 AM   #14
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I had a two tuner Premiere and found it to have the worst, least reliable OTA ATSC tuner I have ever used. I hated it. By comparison both of my Roamio have excellent tuners and they are otherwise superior in speed and design.

Add to that the dramatic ease of upgrading the hard drive, and I'd suggest there is no reason to even consider a Premiere. Run away.
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Old 01-05-2014, 12:01 PM   #15
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I may sell it now so somebody else can enjoy it.
Interested in trading said Premiere w/lifetime for a used Mac Pro computer. I'd really like to try out the system and antenna reception without having to commit to a whole year of service? I am the OP after all, it's only fair I get first crack at it… ;^)
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Old 01-05-2014, 02:43 PM   #16
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Old 01-05-2014, 05:40 PM   #17
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P42, I'm afraid I don't have a high enough post count to reply in the buyer/seller area, or to PM you… I wonder of I can receive PMs?...
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:22 PM   #18
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Sent you a PM...but can you reply...will send you an email...
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Old 01-05-2014, 06:48 PM   #19
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My 2 tuner Premiere has been my only household experience with TiVo. For the first 2 years, it was used exclusively with OTA. I'm only about 20 miles from the antenna farm here and had an amplified indoor Omni antenna. The indoor worked pretty well directly connected to any TV in the house, but I did get a lot more issues with the TiVo. I had wanted to mount a larger antenna in the attic, but I never got around to it before adding cable. So I'm not sure if it would have fixed it. Mind you, I live close to a railroad (which would cause some interference as they passed), under a flight path (same thing), and for most of the time was close to an active radio broadcasting tower. So my weak, little antenna may not have been able to deal with it well and the TVs didn't either, just a little better.
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Old 01-05-2014, 07:24 PM   #20
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I'm only about 20 miles from the antenna farm here and had an amplified indoor Omni antenna. The indoor worked pretty well directly connected to any TV in the house, but I did get a lot more issues with the TiVo. I had wanted to mount a larger antenna in the attic, but I never got around to it before adding cable.
I'm glad you brought up these details. I'm almost 60 miles from downtown Chicago, which is where all my locals come from. We have a giant antenna on the roof, and a booster in the attic, which works incredibly well with our TV's built-in tuner, as long as the antenna stays pointed in the right direction. We typically get 12 strong primary stations with all their sub channels. All the major and minor networks and such.

60 miles sounds far for OTA, but in northern IL, with broadcast towers on top of buildings in Chicago, that's almost line-of-sight… ;^)
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Old 01-05-2014, 10:28 PM   #21
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60 miles sounds far for OTA, but in northern IL, with broadcast towers on top of buildings in Chicago, that's almost line-of-sight… ;^)
When I lived 20 miles SW of Milwaukee, I could get all the Chicago and South Bend, IN stations pretty well. Not so sure now, with digital, but with analog, they came in good.
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Old 01-06-2014, 10:57 AM   #22
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I may sell it now so somebody else can enjoy it.
I'm still shy of the minimum post requirements, so you'll have to email me instead of PM. Thanks.
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Old 01-07-2014, 12:34 PM   #23
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on the merits of the Tivo Premiere as an OTA DVR

Discussion in this topic has expanded beyond the OP's original questions about picture quality, to include discussion of the merits of the Tivo Premiere as an OTA DVR. On that expanded topic, one point that seems relevant to me but hasn't yet been made is this: all DVRs of which I am aware (including the TIVO Premiere) have a major shortcoming when used for OTA with a directional antenna--the DVR can't aim the antenna. This is first an issue when you scan for channels received. You can point the antenna in a seemingly likely direction and scan for channels recieved. If not all channels are recieved with that antenna orientation, you can re-orient the antenna and re-scan. But the TIVO (or any other system that I am aware of) doesn't keep multiple profiles with multiple antenna orientations--so you don't get all your OTA channels at once. As a second issue, if you schedule a recording on a channel, the TIVO cannot correct the antenna orientation before recording--so if the antenna is in the wrong position the recording will be blank. In my particular situation, I can get all of my local channels without moving the antenna--so this is not an issue for me. Unless you have a situation like mine, it seems like the Tivo Premiere (or any other DVR) would be most useful as an OTA DVR when used with an omnidirectional antenna (assuming the "receptions issues" do not present). TVFOOL.com is a useful tool to evaluate stations available to you.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:19 PM   #24
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Discussion in this topic has expanded beyond the OP's original questions about picture quality, to include discussion of the merits of the Tivo Premiere as an OTA DVR. On that expanded topic, one point that seems relevant to me but hasn't yet been made is this: all DVRs of which I am aware (including the TIVO Premiere) have a major shortcoming when used for OTA with a directional antenna--the DVR can't aim the antenna. This is first an issue when you scan for channels received. You can point the antenna in a seemingly likely direction and scan for channels recieved. If not all channels are recieved with that antenna orientation, you can re-orient the antenna and re-scan. But the TIVO (or any other system that I am aware of) doesn't keep multiple profiles with multiple antenna orientations--so you don't get all your OTA channels at once. As a second issue, if you schedule a recording on a channel, the TIVO cannot correct the antenna orientation before recording--so if the antenna is in the wrong position the recording will be blank. In my particular situation, I can get all of my local channels without moving the antenna--so this is not an issue for me. Unless you have a situation like mine, it seems like the Tivo Premiere (or any other DVR) would be most useful as an OTA DVR when used with an omnidirectional antenna (assuming the "receptions issues" do not present). TVFOOL.com is a useful tool to evaluate stations available to you.
Even if a DVR could re-aim an antenna, you might need to record simultaneous programs from different directions. TiVo could have designed the perfect OTA DVR by retaining the Premiere's two coaxial inputs but allowing OTA to be specified for both. Channel lineups for Ant-1 and Ant-2 could be integrated just like OTA and cable lineups can be integrated. Few people would need more than two antennas. Of course, the workaround is just to use two Premieres (or Roamios), one for each antenna.
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:26 PM   #25
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In my particular situation, I can get all of my local channels without moving the antenna--so this is not an issue for me.
I'm also able to get all my locals without moving the antenna. Oddly enough, this past year we've had multiple storms involving crazy high winds and this poor antenna has been rotated all over the place. I'm going to have to engineer something to keep it stationary… once it warms up enough to get up there and mess with it of course ;^)
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Old 01-07-2014, 02:56 PM   #26
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Why not just accept that it is going to get knocked out of alignment from time to time, and spend the money on a rotator to point it back in the right direction, with you safely on the ground.
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Old 01-07-2014, 10:03 PM   #27
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I'm glad you brought up these details. I'm almost 60 miles from downtown Chicago, which is where all my locals come from. We have a giant antenna on the roof, and a booster in the attic, which works credibly well with our TV's built-in tuner, as long as the antenna stays pointed in the right direction. We typically get 12 strong primary stations with all their sub channels. All the major and minor networks and such.

60 miles sounds far for OTA, but in northern IL, with broadcast towers on top of buildings in Chicago, that's almost line-of-sight… ;^)

Chicago is a hard one to receive the digital signal... All the station are in the UHF band execpt wbbm , i think thats the letters, which stayed on its orginal channel 2 i believe.. Which is VHF-LO.. So setting up your antenna you new 2 of them with a di-plexer. A UHF only and a VHF-LO(long long wire style)... That will give you the best OTA.. Check out antennas direct .com they have a special designed "Chicago" only style vhf antenna...
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Old 01-08-2014, 02:12 PM   #28
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the workaround is just to use two Premieres (or Roamios), one for each antenna.
That's one workaround. Another, as I mentioned, would be an omnidirectional antenna. At another level of complexity, this individual combined three antennas (UHF, VHF, FM) into one feed and wrote a nice paper about it (does not discuss DVRs, just antennas). http://www.tschmidt.com/writings/Outdoor_TV_antenna.htm
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Old 01-10-2014, 08:25 AM   #29
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Why not just accept that it is going to get knocked out of alignment from time to time, and spend the money on a rotator to point it back in the right direction, with you safely on the ground.
I accept it... it's all part of the fun of the OTA experience. I actually find it sort of nostalgic. Brings back fond memories of my Dad sending me up the mast to "fix the antenna" ;^)
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Old 02-04-2014, 01:46 AM   #30
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If this debate goes on forever, put me in the "Premiere OTA is good enough" camp. Compared to the supposedly great multipath handling of my HDHomeRun the Premiere gets maybe 1 or 2 fewer of the weak channels; the HDHR can also sometimes pick up spotty Bay Area channels in the summer but that's not even my market. I'm using a cheap directional roof-mount antenna on a RadioShack amplifier/FM trap.

Interestingly there used to be a channel which dropped out cyclically every 4-5 seconds (observable in the HDHR signal-strength utils) and it wasn't anything to do with my tuners, just some transient glitch that disappeared after either the station or the interfering broadcaster got a visit from the guys in the black Suburbans I guess.
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