Bolt doesn't work with antennas.

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by henry the eighth, Feb 19, 2016.

  1. henry the eighth

    henry the eighth New Member

    Feb 5, 2016
    I bought a Bolt and then a new Sony 4K TV. I have tried 4 different antennas, all of which work fine on my Series 3 TIVO. Not so with the Bolt. Out of 17 possible channels it gets 6. I've been on the phone with TIVO twice, and have chatted with a rep online. This is what a supervisor finally admitted to me: the Bolt has new software that doesn't pick up channels as well as older machines and there is nothing they can do about it. So, unless I get cable, I have a $300 bookend. I am seriously unhappy with TIVO right now. Another TIVO user told me they have started selling their stuff to cable companies so they don't need to consider antenna users. I REALLY don't want to get cable, but after the base cost and only one year free--and a ridiculously high price for lifetime--what else can I do?
  2. TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    I started another thread on this a couple of weeks back, but I have set up a couple of BOLTs now, one for a friend, and one I bought for my daughter. In experimenting with both boxes and comparing reception with a Roamio basic and the built-in TV tuners on the same antenna, the BOLT tuners are picking up only about half of what is possible on other tuners. So while the BOLT can be used for OTA it's going to have inferior reception. It will work if the channels you need are very easy to get, otherwise it isn't going to work. Very unfortunate as I would likely considered an upgrade at some point and I'd like to recommend TiVo BOLT to others as I always have but I can't with full confidence. I'm not sure what your antenna possibilities are, but if you're using an outside antenna you might trying raising the height etc. to see if you can resolve any of your problems. I'm in the process of troubleshooting the reception for the one friend I'm helping with their BOLT now. They have a roof mounted antenna and I'm going to try a little larger antenna for them. Really wish I had purchased a number of the Roamio OTA with PLS when they were on sale for $299!

    You may want to return the BOLT if you are within your 30 day trial period and see if you can find a Roamio model. The tuners are roughly as good in the Roamio as the TiVo HD & Series 3 models were.
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2016
  3. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

    Aug 2, 2003
    Pretty much the exact opposite of my experience. My Bolt is the best OTA ATSC tuner I've had.
  4. TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    Wow, that's good to know! Can you tell us some specifics on your OTA setup? Stations you're able to pull in, distances, etc? And any tuner comparisons you have made? I'm really hopeful my and others who are reporting problems experiences are more isolated. I have personally seen significant reception issues in side by side comparison on three different setups. One was a direct comparison between a Roamio and a BOLT plugged into the same antenna. The Roamio could tune 50 channels. The BOLT only 26. The other comparison were between a BOLT and the built in television tuner.


    Nov 30, 2015
    Chicago Suburbs
    I bought my 500GB Bolt on sale at Fry's last month for the ridiculously low Promo Code price of $211. It was the first piece of my puzzle to get off Dish network.

    I connected the Bolt to the 16 year-old OTA antennae in my attic and proceeded to pick up every OTA channel available - many that my various Samsung televisions were unable to pick up. The quality of the picture has been flawless. While I have no previous TiVo experience to compare the Bolt OTA tuner sensitivity to; my experience has been great.

    For full disclosure, because I am located about 30 miles away from downtown Chicago and my antennae is in my attic; I did have to install a couple of Channel Vision signal amplifiers on my antennae line to boost the signal. That pretty typical this type of setup - the amps were in place before the Bolt.

    I have since paired up a Roamio Pro (with a cablecard) with my Bolt and some Minis to completely displace my 3 Hopper / 6 Joey Dish setup for about $150 less per month.
  6. bonscott87

    bonscott87 Done.

    Oct 3, 2000
    Same here. The Bolt tuners are on par with my HD Homerun's and better then the built in tuner of my Samsung TV and way better from my old DirecTV boxes I used many years ago. It picks up all the channels in my area but one, I have issues with that one with any tuner I've had. Bolt is better at picking up a solid signal from a channel that is "off center" to the east of me while my antenna is pointed near straight north.

    About 30 miles from the towers, 35 year old rusting hulk of an antenna on my roof with a power booster. The channel to the east of me is about 40 miles. I have some big trees around but no multipath issues and no hills in the way.
  7. aspexil

    aspexil Member

    Oct 16, 2015
    On our Bolt I'm getting stations 50 miles away with a simple indoor antenna in the attic and 46 channels in the Indianapolis area. Matches what our Samsung 4k UHD TV can pull in off the same antenna feed.
  8. jesrush

    jesrush Member

    Nov 6, 2015
    Totally opposite experience here. OTA reception improved. I use an attic antenna.
  9. trojanrabbit

    trojanrabbit Cat Referee

    Mar 10, 2001
    Near the...
    Same here, I've found the tuners in the Bolt blow away my old Series 3 and my RCA converter box.
  10. TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

    Oct 22, 2013
    OK, one of the BOLTs I was having problems with the OTA tuning (setting up for a friend) has been resolved. I tried three different antennas and finally the third one did the trick. The two original antennas I tried were larger Wineguard yagi style UHF (we only have UHF broadcasters for our local market). I've used the same antennas in other settings with older TiVo's with good success. But I went with a much smaller Clearstream 2V antenna (I left off the VHF elements as they weren't needed) and I raised it up another 5' higher (roof mounted) and bingo, a 20 point signal jump on the weakest station (66 on TiVo signal strength meter using the Clearstream vs. 45 on the Windquards). It does seem to me that the BOLT OTA tuning is more subject to issues though as I have tried it in three different situations now, all in different geographic locations and have had challenges in all three cases. It seems it will definitely be a YMMV type of problem as some other posters have had good results.

    Just another note of comparison. Due to getting a little spooked about how effective the BOLT is going to be for us OTA folks, I picked up a Roamio OTA from eBay to keep on hand. Just to test it out, I connected it to my current antenna where I have my current Roamio basic PLS connected and the reception is identical between the two units. I would have expected it to be as all indications are the electronics are the same for the basic and the OTA (except for the cable card connector) but I had seen some reports of people having issues with the tuning on the Roamio OTA. In any case in my situation the results were identical on my setup.
  11. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    I can't say that the Bolt has better reception then my other TiVos, but it picks up the same channels at home as my other TiVos do. And at my GFs house, she has table top antennas. When I tried the Bolt there, I got just as many stations as her Series 3(OLED) TiVos and as a ROamio Basic.

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