Bolt, mini sync

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by Bill asks, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. Bill asks

    Bill asks New Member

    Mar 12, 2019
    (Sorry for the length, but this problem has become complicated, time consuming, and expensive.)

    We’re considering a TiVo Bolt OTA plus four Mini Vox units, but need to be certain we do not replicate an annoying problem. Our kitchen overlooks a family room on the main level. With a DirecTV DVR and DTV minis, our TV’s were not in synch. People would cheer in one room before those in the other even knew what had happened. Same problem upstairs and downstairs. Audio and video at individual TV’s were in synch, but not among TV’s. DirecTV decided that the synch problem is a design/technical issue, not an installation problem, so they thankfully waived the early cancellation fee.


    · Internet is slow but a consistent 10 mb/s. We have no hic-cups watching 4K movies from Amazon Prime Video. Could change to faster broadband if necessary.

    · Our 802.11n router is on the 3rd floor but we have a good signal on all floors. I think we can relocate it if necessary.

    · All of our TV jacks are tied into the main level family room equipment via coax.


    1. Will we have an out-of-synch problem among TV’s with TiVo, if all TV’s are using TiVo devices?

    2. Does it matter/recommended if the Bolt is wired into the router or wireless?

    3. Does it matter/recommended if the Mini’s are connected to coax or wireless?

    If you do not know the answers, do you know where I can research the topic? Thank you!
  2. Gary Hicks

    Gary Hicks New Member

    Aug 29, 2017
    Bill --

    I sympathize with your problem and, unfortunately, I don't have enough knowledge or experience to answer your questions. However, I can provide a bit of information based upon our own experience which might help you work with others to find a solution.

    In our old house, we had a TiVO unit that was hooked to two televisions via coax. We took the coax output from the TiVO and used a simple inexpensive coax splitter, then sent the split signal to two televisions that were within earshot of each other. We immediately noticed that there was a significant audio echo when we stood between the two televisions. Essentially one television was displaying the signal somewhat faster than the other. We put up with this for a couple of years but it was very irritating.

    Eventually, one of the televisions died. It was a Sony television. We replaced it with a Samsung television (thus we now had two Samsungs) with no other changes to the TiVO, wiring, etc. The echo that we observed with a Sony and Samsung did NOT occur when we switched to two Samsungs. (By the way, these were not even similar models or vintages of Samsung).

    We recently built a new home. Cognizant of the previous echo problem I wanted to avoid it completely in the new home. In our new setup, we would have THREE televisions within "audio echo distance" of each other! So ... in our new home I went with a different setup. In our new setup, we take the HDMI output from the TiVO and send it to a three port HDMI switch. We then connect each of the TVs via HDMI to the three switch outputs. Furthermore, just to be safe, we stuck with three Samsung TVs (different models). In our new setup, there is ZERO echo between the three TVs. We can walk from room to room, watching the same show at the same time and we never hear any echo as all three televisions are in synch.

    I realize that your setup is SIGNIFICANTLY different from ours. However, I figured I would chime in here to help you and others avoid the echo problem. Our conclusions, based upon a sample size of just 2 are:
    • It is possible to completely avoid multiple-television audio synch problems if you use a coax signal and splitter.
    • It is also possible to completely avoid multiple-television audio synch problems if you use an HDMI signal and an HDMI switch.
    • At least in some circumstances you MAY run into audio synch problems if your televisions are from different manufacturers.
    I hope that this helps and that others who have setups closer to yours can help provide answers to your questions. Feel free to contact me directly if you want any specific information about the equipment that I've used here.

    Mikeguy likes this.
  3. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    I'm speculating that the lag is due to something beyond our control. I seldom have any reason to use the host and its Mini at the same time on the same channel. Since I use cable and only TiVo, I can't say if you will change the issue by changing brands of TV. The previous post is the avenue most members take when they have this issue.
  4. kpeters59

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    You're never going to get the different devices to reliably be in sync. It's not just TiVo. 'Standard' cable boxes have that issue, too.

    I have been installing Matrix Systems. This issue is one of the specific reasons I've begun using that type of installation.

  5. Bill asks

    Bill asks New Member

    Mar 12, 2019
    Gary, Thanks for your detailed explanation. Actually, I think your situation may be pretty similar to ours. And thanks to Joe and KP also; hopefully we can avoid the expense of a Matrix System. For 25 years, we had a Philips std def OTA HDD recorder that we could control from, and play through coax and splitters on any TV in the house; we never had an "echo" problem. So to experience the "echo" now with DirecTV and maybe TiVo was unexpected. and is confusing. I am not sure how/when we will proceed, but I will post again with our results. Of course more insights and advice are welcome!
  6. ggieseke

    ggieseke Well-Known Member

    May 30, 2008
    I don't think there's any way to sync playback on Minis, nor should there be unless your goal is to have multiple TVs playing the exact same thing throughout the house. Each TiVo or Mini is playing its own stream at its own time even if they're all coming from the same recording. Even in a "big game day" scenario, what if I'm upstairs and need to pause for a few minutes to hit the bathroom?

    If your goal is to have every TV playing the exact same thing at the same time throughout the house you need a complicated system to replicate one video stream to multiple TVs, not a TiVo device.
  7. Phil T

    Phil T Active Member

    Oct 29, 2003
    I have a Bolt and two minis. They will not be in sync. Sometimes my wife will watch a ballgame on a mini while I am watching it on the Bolt and they are out of sync, but not by much.

    I have a neighbor who has a TV mounted on his deck with Comcast cable. It used to drive me nuts when I had DirecTV and the delay was so far behind. When I switched to TiVO the delay is milliseconds instead of 15 to 30 seconds.
  8. Bill asks

    Bill asks New Member

    Mar 12, 2019
    We don’t need every TV on all three floors of the house to be on the same program, but we often have two TV’s on a single floor playing the same OTA or recorded content (but we can have them play different OTA channels also). Perhaps we got spoiled with our old std def system the last 25+ years – everything was in perfect sync. Wish I understood why, and why DirecTV was so far off; maybe then I could decide if a TiVo Bolt and Mini’s would be in sync or not.
  9. Bill asks

    Bill asks New Member

    Mar 12, 2019
    That’s encouraging that the Bolt and the Mini’s are only milliseconds apart. That would be tolerable, I think.
  10. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    I don't think Phil said that exactly. I use wireless headphones from the A/V jack on a Roamio. There is a very tiny delay. It is not tolerable. I can mute the regular speakers, so I eliminate the audio, and only hear the headphones.

    To see a really bad delay, it's about 10 seconds between CNN and MSNBC when they show a live speech. I think it's MSNBC adding a delay against profanity.
  11. mikey94025

    mikey94025 Member

    Oct 14, 2003
    I think the largest delay will be between the main Bolt unit and each of the Minis. The Mini needs to buffer the video stream coming from the remote Bolt unit over WiFi by a decent amount, e.g. seconds, so that any home network hiccups do not cause video play issue whereas the Bolt has no such worries streaming off of its local hard drive.

    This is why there is a delay on a Mini changing channels on Live TV or selecting a recording -- I just tried it and see a ~5 sec delay changing anything. Frankly, anyone wanting to surf Live TV channels is not going to enjoy the experience on any of the Minis because of the larger delay vs. what they experience using traditional cable head units.

    I also have Comcast units in our rooms, along with a single Bolt and also a Mini as an experiment. In contrast the Comcast unit experiences only a ~1 sec delay changing channels on Live TV. I didn't try playing one of the recordings off the remote DVR, I assume it will have a similar delay as the Mini playing something from the main Bolt unit.
  12. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...

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