BOLT tuner issues

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by TeamPace, Feb 4, 2016.

  1. Feb 4, 2016 #1 of 12
    TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

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    Oct 22, 2013
    Ohio

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    I own a TiVo Roamio base model connected to a Winequard HD7698 outdoor antenna on a 40' tower. I just helped a friend set up a new BOLT and we did the setup at my house with the BOLT connected to my antenna. My Roamio pulls in all of the stations in my city (Dayton, OH) with transmitters about 10 miles away as well as most of the stations in Cincinnati, OH with the transmitters approximately 52-53 miles away. The BOLT could not fully tune any of the Cincinnati stations. I tried it with the antenna cable directly connected to the BOLT (no splitters) and also with one splitter (one side to the BOLT and one side to the Roamio). I ran the TiVo channel signal strength side by side and the Bolt levels were all lower, as much as 20 points, especially for the further stations. I tried an inline signal amplifier with the BOLT and largely there was no improvement, and many channels were worse. So while I had heard the tuner pack in the BOLT was the same as the Roamio, there is obviously some difference. Any other OTA people experiencing this?
     
  2. Feb 5, 2016 #2 of 12
    henry the eighth

    henry the eighth New Member

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    Feb 5, 2016
    I'm thinking the Bolt has a design flaw. Mine keeps losing channels--7 of the 26 just disappear--or are impossible to watch because of too much pixelating. I've had TIVO since they came out and have never had any problems. I've talked to the TIVO people and they say I need a signal amplifier, but I know that if the towers are too close, which they are, then it will mess up other channels. I have an older TIVO that has no such issues. I'm thinking it's either a lemon or they are just designed badly. Anyone else having similar problems?
     
  3. Feb 5, 2016 #3 of 12
    henry the eighth

    henry the eighth New Member

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    Feb 5, 2016
    TeamPace: I meant to say, I've tried different cords, different antennas, hooking an antenna straight to the TV which gets all stations perfectly...seriously everything I could think of--and I taught video production for 10 years, so I'm pretty good at this stuff.
     
  4. Feb 5, 2016 #4 of 12
    Zoomokla

    Zoomokla New Member

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    Jan 4, 2016
    I have in the last couple of months gotten a Bolt and started using an antenna again after five years with DTV. Most of my stations are about 50 to 60 miles away. I have had any issues with reception. After the trees leaf back out I may find I have trouble but so far so good.
     
  5. Feb 6, 2016 #5 of 12
    TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

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    Ohio

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    henry the eighth: I had a very similar experience to all of this a few years back when trying to upgrade from a TiVo HD model to a Premier model. The HD model had decent OTA tuners (I still use a couple of HD units) but the Premier had many reported issues with it's OTA tuning capabilities. In my attempt to upgrade to the Premier I lost several channels and had picture break up on many more. TiVo tech support was little help, making suggestions and comments that I thought were bunk. I tried an amplifier, and several different attenuators with little improvement. Finally after a couple of weeks I returned the Premier unit and stuck with the HD model. Once the Roamio came out and I read that others were having better luck with OTA reception I bought one and it was able to provide similar reception to the HD.

    Evidently there is some change to the BOLT tuners or associated electronics that has once again degraded OTA reception. I had read that the tuner pack was the same, but clearly there is some difference negatively affecting the tuning. It may be a case by case basis as some users may be in a "sweet spot" with OTA reception that the BOLT tuner can handle, but clearly many of us may have issues.

    As further evidence of BOLT OTA tuner deficiencies I just set up one for my daughter who lives in an apartment in Washington DC just 5 miles from the broadcast towers. I knew being that close I would only want a small non-amplified indoor antenna. The TVs tuners did a pretty decent job scanning and locking the major channels. Once switching the antenna over to the BOLT though I had much more difficulty with tuning the channels. I did finally find an antenna placement that got acceptable reception although she still gets some pixilation on a couple of channels, but overall it's useable. For my location in Ohio the BOLT isn't going to be a viable option for me so I will stick with the Roamio.

    I have helped a number of friends "cut the cord" and always recommend a TiVo to them. IMHO a TiVo is the best product available to make cord cutting a decent experience. Many people who see my setup are amazed that I don't have cable when they see how the TiVo works and that I get 50+ stations with great picture quality.

    In 20/20 hindsight I should have purchased a few of the $300 lifetime TiVo Roamio OTA closeout priced models. As it seems the BOLT will be a limited option for OTA folks only working where there is close to ideal reception. That's unfortunate as it will cut into the volume of sales for that growing segment of customers.

    I'll get another chance to evaluate this issue with another friend I'm getting ready to help cut the cord. I'm hopeful for them as the are about 18 miles from the towers they need and all of the stations are on UHF frequencies. So with a decent roof mounted antenna I think they may be OK. Will know soon!
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016
  6. Feb 6, 2016 #6 of 12
    TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

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    Ohio
    Zoomokla: Glad to hear you're reception is doing OK! Have you compared reception with the antenna connected directly to the TV? Would be interesting to see if it's the same. I think the reception issues will likely be on a case by case basis depending on various reception characteristics for different locations. It will be good to see if the reception issues affect a large number of customers or just certain ones that have slightly more challenging situations. Thanks for your input!
     
  7. Feb 6, 2016 #7 of 12
    atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

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    Rochester NY
    I see no noticeable difference between my Roamio & my Bolt when it comes to OTA reception.

    I have a large deep fringe roof mounted antenna with a pre-amp going to a 4 way splitter. Cables from the 4 way splitter are same brand & length they currently go to my TV, Premiere, Raomio, & Bolt. I sometimes have trouble with channels 31 and right now it is not coming in. Set Premiere, Roamio, & Bolt to channel 31.1 and check the signal strength meter. The Premiere could not lock onto digital signal, the Roamio & Bolt both locked on with a signal strength of 32 and have severely pix-elated un-watchable picture, TV locked but no picture at all.

    This is my normal experience. In the past when I have had my Series 3 or TiVo HD connected they tune nearly the same as the Roamio or the Bolt.
     
  8. Feb 6, 2016 #8 of 12
    TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

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    Oct 22, 2013
    Ohio
    atmuscarella: Good to hear your experience with the BOLT tuners is more positive. It must be certain reception challenges that cause the difference. I experienced a clear and distinct difference between the reception of my Roamio and the BOLT I was testing connected to the same antenna. Also in the past the Premier had quite a few OTA tuning issues reported here and elsewhere. Again though it must be somewhat dependent on the specific setup and location. Possibly areas with multipath issues or something.

    Thanks for reporting your experience.
     
  9. Feb 7, 2016 #9 of 12
    watstein

    watstein New Member

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    Feb 17, 2005
    So i had a bolt from October which the tuner went out in January. I am on Comcast not OTA. The second bolt that i got for replacement since was under warranty only worked for 3 minutes and died. Im on my 3rd bolt. This one is working and i hope it lasts. I have no issues with my Premiers i have and also my series 2 boxes either. I think its a cheap or bad tuner they installed on the bolt.
     
  10. bobd

    bobd Member

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    Jan 30, 2002
    After reading this thread I had to go and check and my tv tuner does a much better job at pulling in the tv stations. Using the meter in my tv I was getting a constant 92 - 100 signal strength and using my Bolt's meter the readings are constantly in the 70's.

    Now it is two different meters and it could be argued that you can't compare the two like that and for the most part I would agree but my TV can also pull in stations from 100 miles away that Bolt can't even see.

    Now all I did was connect the coax I have feeding the antenna in my attic to each tuner.
     
  11. TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

    443
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    Oct 22, 2013
    Ohio
    bobd, thanks for your input. You are correct that the signal strength meters on different devices aren't directly comparable. However the fact that you aren't able to tune as many channels on the BOLT as your TV tuner can does support that there are indeed some issues with the BOLT OTA tuning capabilities. I suppose that if a new BOLT owner only connects the DVR to an antenna and scans, they won't have any way of knowing if there are more channels available to them since they have nothing to compare it to. So far it seems some users are seeing this issue and some aren't, so it must be somewhat dependent on location etc. But the bottom line is some of us are definitely seeing some issues with BOLT OTA tuning. This is unfortunate as I believe the OTA market is likely to grow.
     
  12. TeamPace

    TeamPace Active Member

    443
    108
    Oct 22, 2013
    Ohio
    Finished the setup of my friends BOLT today for an OTA setup with a decent roof mounted antenna. They are 18 miles from the transmitters which are all in the same direction over relatively flat terrain They were able to receive all of the major stations, but missed a couple of the harder to receive stations but they are experiencing considerable breakup on one of the major stations. We also connected the antenna to a separate TV directly and that TVs tuner was able to get a stable lock all of the stations as well as a couple of others the BOLT could not. This is the third instance I have personally encountered where I am seeing sub-par performance from the BOLT OTA tuners. I've been a TiVo user for about 7 years, starting with a HD model and I love them. But I am under the opinion that the BOLT definitely has some OTA reception issues. It seems not everyone is experiencing these problems but none the less there appears to be a legitimate issue. Appreciate others using BOLT OTA to report their experience.
     

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