Does Bolt support both OTA and cable card at the same time?

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by gfweiss, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. Sep 5, 2017 #1 of 30

    gfweiss Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    Red Bank, NJ


    I'm looking at buying a Bolt and have to decide between the 4 and 6 tuner models. I understand that the 6 tuner model is cable card only but the 4 tuner Bolt supports both OTA and cable card. My question is this: When I set up the Bolt do I have to choose one or the other? I'd like to insert a cable card AND hook up the OTA antenna and freely watch TV and record either or both at any given time. Is this possible or am I asking for too much? ..... george
  2. Sep 5, 2017 #2 of 30

    kpeters59 Well-Known Member

    Jun 19, 2007
    Houston, Texas
    One or the other...NOT both at the same time.

  3. Sep 6, 2017 #3 of 30

    gfweiss Member

    Feb 27, 2005
    Red Bank, NJ
    Thanks KP, that clinches it, 6 tuner Bolt+ it is.
    kpeters59 likes this.
  4. Sep 7, 2017 #4 of 30

    DeDondeEs Well-Known Member

    Feb 20, 2004
    Las Vegas, NV
    Yeah I asked this in another thread. It is odd because the setup menu on the Bolt has a place to select to have guide data for OTA and Cable at the same time, however it is impossible to hook up both antenna and cable to the device concurently. The only advantage I could see to having both sets of guide data that is if your cable goes out, you could quickly unhook the cable and screw in the antenna coax without re-runnng setup. However you would also have to be careful with season passes and recordings to make sure it isn't trying to record stuff off the OTA channel while you are hooked up to cable, and vice-versa.
  5. Sep 7, 2017 #5 of 30

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2008


    Cable and OTA frequencies overlap.
  6. aphoid

    aphoid Member

    Jul 7, 2013
    I made exactly the opposite decision. The fact that the Bolt+ doesn't support OTA made me think, "I shouldn't get this just in case I decide to cut the cord in a year or two." I got the Bolt and am plenty happy.

    I don't think I've run into the situation where I've needed all four tuners.
  7. Will Binegar

    Will Binegar New Member

    Mar 10, 1999
    For me, there are times that four tuners wouldn't be enough: NCAA Basketball tournament, NCAA Bowl season, Olympics, etc.
    PSU_Sudzi likes this.
  8. Emacee

    Emacee Member

    Dec 15, 2000
    This is strange. My old Tivo Premiere and Tivo 3 both allowed cable AND antenna. With Bolt it's cable OR antenna. It must be possible to have both; they've done it since the first Tivo. For some reason, Tivo decided not to allow both. Seems like it would a matter of setting up the software to allow both. Any idea why Tivo would limit Bolt in this way?
  9. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

    Dec 7, 2012
    Ashland, PA...
    I understand that there are posts that indicate a procedure to make the Bolt (or Roamio) have both lineups. But even if you had both lineups you still need some way to get both frequency bands into the TiVo without conflicts. There's only one rf input. I have my two tuner Premiere setup to have both the OTA and cable lineups and I feed my cable into both rf connectors. Perhaps it is a software change. I used to be able to select cable but then choose no cable card. That option is gone. So things have changed.

    It may not be the optimum solution, but this spring when stuff goes on sale maybe you can get another Bolt. Configure it for OTA then stream content over your network. BTW, it's also the Roamio. TiVo isn't picking on the Bolt.
  10. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

    Nov 25, 2003
    Limited number of customers who require simultaneous feeds, combined with the cost (hardware, software) of developing and supporting the feature, and the disincentive to doing so in the form of additional DVR & service sales for those customers who do require both sources (a similar disincentive facing user profiles).
  11. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    Not to mention the chips have four tuners. So you do either two cable and two OTA like old Tivos did. Or you do four OTA or four cable. Which is what TiVo has been doing for many years now. Since the Roamio came out in 2013.
    krkaufman likes this.
  12. m.s

    m.s Active Member

    Mar 8, 2007
    That's not hard to sort out - you just use a pin diode to attach a tuner to either the OTA or cable input. That's if there were more than one input. As already mentioned, the frequencies overlap, so you can't combine cable/OTA into a single input. But even then, when a user goes to channel X, which one is that on? And, how big is the market - if you have cable, what OTA locals aren't there which you need an antenna for? With that in mind, the OP's question really doesn't make sense - if you're already paying for cable, how is OTA any more "free?" Even less sense when he then chose the unit which only does cable, so he'll never even have the option to change to OTA.
  13. shwru980r

    shwru980r Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2008
    I think you could buy an all-in 4 tuner bolt and an all-in Roamio OTA for what you would pay for a 6 tuner Bolt and integrate cable and OTA that way and have 8 tuners instead of 6. If you have two TVs then you would save the cost of an additional mini for the second tv.
    ke3ju likes this.
  14. clay.autery

    clay.autery Member

    Feb 2, 2018
    I am actually inclined to run 2 Bolts at the same time... One on Cable and a second for OTA. Then, drop one from the account when I finally drop Cable.
    ke3ju likes this.
  15. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    The main reason I coitnued to use the four tuner Bolt was because I could use it for OTA if I needed to. But I do have a Roamio on OTA with the $6.95 service. And my two lifetime Bolts are on cable.
  16. Peter Chri

    Peter Chri New Member

    Aug 13, 2018
    I as well plan to ditch cable at one point, I have 2 Bolt's one I use for Fios and I moCA to 2 minis via coax.
    The second Bolt is brand new.
    Can I run one Bolt on cable and the second on OTA and still use moCA?
    And if how would I connect the OTA to the 2nd Bolt?
  17. kendq

    kendq Member

    Jan 12, 2005
    Before You move on that idea try the OTA with your antenna. Just because your TV works good on a antenna doesn't mean the Bolt will. My TV gets a beautiful Picture on all my OTA network channels , but my bolt picture is severely pixelated. When I called support they say its because there are 4 tuners in the bolt which cuts out most of the signal to each tuner. Also as to your question I would think since you can't run both antenna and cable on the same coax the best way to make it work is IF (and thats a big IF) you can run cat5 cable between the 2 boxes and enable moca on the box that runs thru the rest of the house it would work.
  18. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

    May 28, 2005
    New Mexico...
    Yes, the type of network connection your TiVo uses is totally separate from they signal source. Your biggest unknown is any potential problems from "mixing" your coax cable plant with both an antenna and a cable TV feed. You will need a POE filter on both, plus make sure any splitters are MoCA compatible. Adding an antenna does not theoretically cause any problems, but some folks have MoCA issues that just do not make a lot of sense, no matter what the signal source.

    For MoCA to work, obviously any MoCA client MUST be connected to the same coax as the MoCA bridge, but other boxes that are directly connected to the LAN do not have to be connected to that same coax. For example, if you have one Bolt creating the MoCA network on the same coax with the Minis, the other Bolt could be on a totally separate coax plant and still work fine on the LAN if it is connected with wired Ethernet, and your Minis would be able to access both.

    Personally, I find the Bolt Tuners quite good; perhaps not the best in the world (my S3 boxes are a little more sensitive), but they work just fine even with marginal signals. However, the advice to test before making any final decisions is always good. I think that any issues with pixelation on a Bolt that has a signal strength of 50% or higher is caused by multipath signals or other cable issues within the house. In my experience in a very marginal signal area (with some channels limited to only 43% signal strength and SNR of just 16 dB), multiple Bolts have produced perfect stable PQ, just like my 4 HD TVs, including a 15 year old Sony and new Samsung 4K/UHD .

    With my marginal signal strength and no LOS path to the broadcast towers, some weather and other issues can occasionally cause interference, but all my TVs show the same interference effects at the same times when I check.

    If you have a CLEAN antenna signal, your Bolt will give you a CLEAN video picture. If you try and get by with just a garbage internal antenna and questionable old coax, then you are liable to have problems.
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2018
  19. krkaufman

    krkaufman TDL shepherd

    Nov 25, 2003
    You’d need to provide more information to receive an answer specific to your setup.
    • Will you be able to network the OTA BOLT via Ethernet to your LAN?
    • Where will your OTA antenna be located relative to the targeted BOLT?
    • How will the OTA antenna coax line be routed to the BOLT location?
    • Will the BOLT location have separate access to the FiOS-connected coax plant on which your existing MoCA network operates?
    As others have pointed-out, your biggest roadblock is that OTA and cable TV signals cannot share a given coax run owing to their using overlapping frequencies.
  20. Rkkeller

    Rkkeller Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2004
    I always buy the model that can support both OTA and CC's. Had the Roamio and now the Bolt. I never know what I am going to do when specials with the cable providers expire and been back and forth OTA only and cable over the last many years. I know its only 4 tuners, but rarely has that been a problem or if it has I have moved past it long ago. I do have a 2 tuner Tablo commented OTA 24/7/365 as a back up and a FireTV Cube with Prime.

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