Best OTA TiVO?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by mcf57, Feb 21, 2015.

Which TiVo HD is the best for antenna OTA use?

Poll closed Sep 21, 2016.
  1. Series 3 OLED (TCD648250B)

    5 vote(s)
  2. Series 3 HD (TCD652160)

    6 vote(s)
  3. Premiere 2 tuner

    0 vote(s)
  4. Roamio 4 tuner

    33 vote(s)
  5. Roamio OTA only

    9 vote(s)
  6. none are good for OTA use

    0 vote(s)
  1. mcf57

    mcf57 Member

    Oct 19, 2012


    I have several TiVos including 3 Premieres (2 & 4 tuners), 1 TiVO Mini, and 2 Series 3 TiVo; a TCD648250B (OLED) and a TCD652160 (160GB drive). All units are lifetimed. I have been slowly phasing out the older Series 3 units in favor of newer equipment, but I am now hearing the Series 3s have the best OTA tuners compared to the newer Premieres and Roamios. I am considering cutting the cord and maybe I should just hang on to these Series 3s. Is it true they are better for antenna use? Or which one is the best for OTA
  2. justen_m

    justen_m Cheesehead TCF Club

    Jan 14, 2004
    Boise, ID
    I think having four tuners on a single box trumps other considerations. Secondary is network speed for transfers and ttg. The Series 3 suck at that. FWIW, I've got a TiVo HD (upgraded to 1TB) that I use for OTA. I think tuning issues are best solved by antennas, not choice of TiVo.
  3. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    I have and still use a Series 3, TiVo HD, Premiere, & Roamio for OTA. For me the tuners in the Roamio are superior to all the other units. From my point of view the Roamio is a great OTA DVR and would be my first choice.

    I voted for the Roamio over the Roamio OTA simple because I think buying a Roamio with lifetime is a better deal than buying a Roamio OTA and paying monthly. If someone is going to pay monthly anyway buying the Roamio OTA would make more sense.
  4. StevesWeb

    StevesWeb Grumpy Old Geek

    Dec 26, 2008
    Geek Hill,...
    I previously owned a series 3HD and a two tuner Premiere. The Premiere had a horribly bad tuner, I celebrated the day it left my home. The TiVoHD had a very good tuner, but both of my 4 tuner Roamio basic models are better, each receiving more channels more reliably on the same amplified outdoor antennas. For tuner sensitivity I'd recommend the Roamio.

    I bought lifetime on both of my Roamio units, it makes sense to me.

    The Roamio series is also the easiest to upgrade.
  5. unclehonkey

    unclehonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Mankato, MN


    My 1st experience with Tivo was a premiere. It lasted less than 24 hours. OTA tuner SUCKED! And I'm 25 miles from the tower and had a small outdoor antenna that worked fine.

    Have had a Series 3 OLED for a couple years now and the tuner is really good
    Roamio OTA is a smidge better than the Series 3 imo
  6. Papagenox

    Papagenox Member

    Mar 25, 2009
    My limited experience with the OTA tuner on the Premiere (2 tuner, vintage 2010) confirms that it sucks as well, although I was using an indoor antenna. Amplified or no, it still didn't bring in pretty much anything, while the HDTV it was connected to did bring in most channels on its own OTA tuner. Haven't tried it lately, but unless it's something that gets better with software I doubt it's worth trying (I have cable).
  7. A2JetGuy

    A2JetGuy Member

    Jan 23, 2013
    My experience has been that my Roamio and Series3 HD outperform my Premieres on my most distance stations. In addition to that, my Premieres tend to pixelate more often than my Roamio and Series3 HD when the wind is blowing the trees around.

    Having said that, I retired the HD and replaced it with a Mini. I prefer the new software.
  8. Wil

    Wil Unknown Member

    Sep 26, 2002
    Is a series 3 with lifetime that you already own and is working fine OTA better than buying a new Roamio and lifetime and having to sell the series 3? BTW a hacked Tivo series 3 so if I ever do hook it up to cable again I'm cci byte immune.

    I'd love for there to be a different answer because I think the 10 year loyalty price for the Roamio is right and is not going to last forever and I always like to have the newest/fastest/shiniest toys. But ...
  9. Peter G

    Peter G Member

    Jan 3, 2012
    I use my Roamio exclusively as OTA. I had a Premiere and can say that the tuners in that unit were poor. I was about to give up on Tivo when the Roamio came out. It is much better on the tuners performance. Plus you have 4 tuners. I would recommend the Roamio basic for OTA.

    Peter G
  10. jth tv

    jth tv Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2014
    Another question is why can't we rely on product specifications for the answer, why should it be a matter of opinion ?
  11. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    When it comes to OTA reception what product specification are you going to use? Since the analog to digital transition I have had 9 nine different devices with digital OTA tuners attached to the same antenna (at various times) and reception varied on all of them and could varied from day to day on the same device.
  12. drkmstr

    drkmstr New Member

    Nov 23, 2013
    I am very happy with my Roamio Basic with OTA. I do think the key to OTA is having the right antenna in the right location. I moved my antenna to my attic over a year ago and that improved my OTA reception significantly. I also upgraded to the to the DB8e from antennas direct.
  13. dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

    Jul 6, 2006
    Dayton OH
    These poll results don't mean much unless the respondents are restricted to those who have compared all the tivo models at the same time and place with the identical antenna conditions. I suspect the number of responses satisfying those conditions is approximately zero.
  14. unclehonkey

    unclehonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 20, 2012
    Mankato, MN
    well my Premiere, Series 3 and Roamio were all done under the same conditions. Same outdoor TV antenna (mounted in my walk in closet). Same cable length

    Premiere was replaced with the Series within a week. I made the mistake of not doing my homework about the Premiere and OTA.
    Series 3 was replaced with Roamio OTA when it (Roamio OTA) came out. Both are hooked to same antenna right now
  15. pfiagra

    pfiagra Well-Known Member

    Oct 13, 2014
    My Roamio replaced my Premiere using the same antenna setup and there is one channel that was intermittently received OTA on the Premiere. Now with the Roamio, it is reliably received OTA such that I can and do include it in my channel list.
  16. bradleys

    bradleys It'll be fine....

    Oct 31, 2007
    I participated in the poll and answered the question with the base Roamio and even though I have never used a TiVo for OTA alone, I think my response is reasonable.

    I base that response on what each product offers, where the product is in its life-cycle and the total cost of ownership over time.

    The base Roamio is new and will be supported for some time to come, It can be used as a Cable DVR if your circumstances change also improving the resale value, and finally, the base Roamio offers lifetime as an option.

    S3 models can be had relatively cheaply but do not support Mini + OTA and the OTA Roamio has a very cheap up front cost but the lack of lifetime and cable support will dramatically impact total cost of ownership and resale value.

    That is what I based my vote on.

    Note: I have no idea if one model of TiVo gets better OTA reception than another TiVo, but I suspect much of that is going to have to do with your antenna choices.
  17. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    Well I have a Series 3, TiVo HD, Premiere, & Roamio all sitting in my living room attached to the same antenna feed via a 4 way splitter with the same brand 6 foot coax cable going to each TiVo. I have also tested each Tivo separately without the splitter using only the main feed.

    In my area the locals broadcast on both VHF & UHF, I have one channel 10+/- miles away to the north west broadcasting on frequency 23, the others are all about 35+/- miles North East and broadcast on frequencies 10, 13, 16, 28, 42, & 46. I have the largest deep fringe roof mounted antenna I could buy with a pre-amp and a 75 foot run of coax. The channels on frequency 42 & 46 are lower power and may or may not come in. Fox Channel 31 on frequency 28 is a full powered station and has pixlation issues at times - the other channels are normally very solid.

    I can give everyone a 100% assurance that in my setup the Premiere's tuners do not work as well as the other units. The Series 3 & TiVo HD tuners are slightly better and will have less pixelation than the Premiere and may have a channel that is watchable on them but not on the Premiere. The Roamio is the best of the bunch and can lock onto channels the other units can not and has the least pixelation, but even the Roamio can have issues at certain times.

    I will restate what I think should be obvious, how well any OTA digital tuner works mostly depends on a persons location and their antenna setup. I am fairly certain that for a significant number of locations a good antenna setup will make the tuners in a Premiere seem as good as the ones in a Roamio, however as I stated above they are not.
  18. Arcady

    Arcady Stargate Fan

    Oct 14, 2004
    Why? Do you really need 10+ tuners in the same room? Seems kinda silly.
  19. Wil

    Wil Unknown Member

    Sep 26, 2002
    And why would anyone choose to live in Rochester? And why would anyone be so frivolous with their time as to post on a Forum like TCF? This guy seems kinda all around silly.
  20. atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    Mostly it is a function of me being to lazy to get around to selling any of them (I also have a functioning Series 2 with lifetime in the same room). As you can see from my signature the TiVo HD came along first, 2 tuners was not enough and I had still been using Series 2 TiVos with those cheap OTA tuners that came out during the OTA analog to digital conversion. The picture from those on my TV sucked so I was considering buying a Premiere but then a woot deal on refurbed Series 3 got me to buy a Series 3 instead and gave me enough HD tuners. Then I ended up getting a great price (for the time) on a new Premiere with lifetime, due to a complete flook ($300 with lifetime service). At that point I had intended on selling either the TiVo HD or Series 3 but the tuners on the Premiere were not reliable enough so I ended up having to keeping all 3 units.

    I went in on a Roamio early on hoping to replace the other units. I did allot of testing and comparison of the 4 units during the first 6+ months. The Roamio ended up being great - the problem at the time was the other 3 units had about 5 Tb of stored programs that I wanted. Now I mostly have the TiVo HD, Series 3, & Premiere unplugged and just use the Roamio. I don't have to pad anything so 4 tuners is enough - but I do use 4 tuners now and then.

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