First Tivo

Discussion in 'TiVo Premiere DVRs' started by Cut-the-cord, Dec 3, 2011.

  1. Dec 3, 2011 #1 of 22
    Cut-the-cord

    Cut-the-cord New Member

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    Nov 22, 2011
    Hillside, IL
    Well, I did it. I joined the ranks of Premiere owners. Strictly OTA. Monday I call Directv to cancel.

    I learned a few things during this experience.

    1-No matter how much you read before getting your first Tivo, no matter how much you plan your installation -in detail-, said installation will go to crap.

    2- If you pull out enough hair, you do develop a bald spot . . .

    3- Primal Scream helps.

    4- Beer helps more.

    5- Antennas Direct Tech Support helped the most.

    For the last week I had been thinking of dropping Directv and going strictly OTA due to my limited budget. Now that everything broadcast is digital I know mt trusty VCR is useless so I looked into Tivo and other DVRs. Due to cost I decided to hold off on the Tivo and start with just getting an antenna set up. My TV Fool report looked like:

    (I see I am 1 post short of including the link to the report)

    According to that, a small indoor antenna would work great. Reading the reviews for the ClearStream Micron got me worried. The next size up should really pull in the signals. The ClearStream2 looked real good. Then I saw that at Best Buy the ClearStream2 was $99. But, if you buy the ClearStream2 ($99), bundled with the Tivo Premiere ($99), the whole thing is sold for $99! Hmmm, buy the antenna I was going to buy and get a free Tivo . . . now we're talkin'.

    Got it yesterday.

    Set up the antenna first as an indoor antenna. The TV pulled in 36 or 38 channels with a nice very clear picture. Moved the cable over to the Tivo . . . everything went to crap. Pixelation, dropouts, skips, one channel (CBS) vanished.

    Why did it work on the TV and not the Tivo?

    Tivo Diagnostics showed (for CBS - ch 2.1):
    Signal Strength= 26 to 30
    SNR = 16 to 19db

    In Desperation I called Tivo Tech Support. They said to add an amplifier, but would not say what size amp to get. Called Antennas Direct Tech Support today. Explained everything I saw and did. First question - "Are you in a Brick House?" . . . yup . . . Move your antenna to a window facing the transmitters, and do not use any amp.

    Suddenly the Tivo started working.

    Now my Tivo Diagnostics showed (for CBS - ch 2.1):
    Signal Strength= 55 to 58
    SNR = 24db

    It turned out that brick kills UHF signals. Learn sumthin every day.

    Reception with the Tivo Premiere is still not what it should be. Direct antenna to TV is flawless viewing. through the Tivo I still get some pixelaton on occasion and a little skipping. At least now it is watchable. One thing I did notice, the software it came with was 14.5. Last night it updated to 14.8c. No noticeable improvement in tuner.
     
  2. Dec 4, 2011 #2 of 22
    P42

    P42 Active Member

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    Jan 7, 2003
    01460
    Welcome to the world of free OTA TV :up:
     
  3. Dec 4, 2011 #3 of 22
    magnus

    magnus Tivo User

    2,507
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    Nov 12, 2004
    Texas
    I just purchased this antenna. It cleared up all of my signal problems.
    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3739595

    It's feeding 2 Tivo Premeires and 1 TV just fine. It fixed the issue of pixelation that I had on the Tivos for channels 8-1,11-1, and 13-1.

    If you notice... the antenna that you purchased is UHF only... that might be part of the issue. Not sure why it would work on TV for you and not on Tivo though.
     
  4. Dec 4, 2011 #4 of 22
    drknapp

    drknapp Member

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    Nov 27, 2011
    I just ordered the same bundle from Best Buy. I should be cutting the cord next week. It's a interesting to read how many posts there are about the Tivo tuner not working as well as the TV's.
     
  5. Dec 4, 2011 #5 of 22
    replaytv

    replaytv gun talk ignore list

    4,401
    1
    Feb 20, 2011
    Denver ish...
    I am in a brick house and receive signals through the brick. Maybe your brick has metal content.
    The bestbuy Tivo antenna bundle has a UHF antenna. That is what it says on the box.
     
  6. Dec 4, 2011 #6 of 22
    atmuscarella

    atmuscarella Well-Known Member

    6,939
    606
    Oct 11, 2005
    Rochester NY
    The first thing a Premiere does is split the signal so it is very possible that someone will get a stronger/better signal on their single tuner TV than on their dual tuner TiVo. Of course signal strength numbers mean nothing when comparing one device to another (even when comparing a Premiere to a Series 3 TiVo) as there is no standard that is used to set the strength numbers.
     
  7. Dec 4, 2011 #7 of 22
    Cut-the-cord

    Cut-the-cord New Member

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    Nov 22, 2011
    Hillside, IL
    Trying this again.

    TV Fool Report

    Every transmitter is under 15 miles away.

    I was still getting some dropouts and pixelation. I added a 10db amp. at the antenna and now most channels are rock solid.

    I just watched a Football game on CBS, the channel that was the worst. Not one single stray pixel did I see. However, my Team lost! (figures) :(

    I see in the specs the Clearstream2 is a UHF only antenna. In my own offense it did come with a free tivo . . . :rolleyes: I have reached the conclusion that matching the correct antenna to a Tivo is an art form.
     
  8. Dec 4, 2011 #8 of 22
    unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    16,576
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    Yes, the digital television revolution has re-introduced all of the problems faced by television owners in the days before cable, only now it's worse because back then it was mostly VHF stations and now so much more is up in UHF where the RF voodoo is even trickier.
     
  9. Dec 4, 2011 #9 of 22
    magnus

    magnus Tivo User

    2,507
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    Nov 12, 2004
    Texas

    Might be able to get another antenna (VHF) and a signal combiner. That might do the trick.

    http://www.amazon.com/Antennas-Direct-EU385CF-Uhf-Combiner/dp/B002FXAHP8/ref=pd_cp_e_0
     
  10. Cut-the-cord

    Cut-the-cord New Member

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    Nov 22, 2011
    Hillside, IL
    Well, I sent off a request to Winegard explaining all this. Lets see what they recommend for an antenna.
     
  11. L David Matheny

    L David Matheny Active Member

    1,632
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    Jan 29, 2011
    SE Ohio
    OTOH, for stations which you can receive reliably, OTA digital television provides a perfect picture with less compression than used by cable or satellite companies, and with none of the picture problems that plagued OTA analog television, especially ghosting. The picture is amazing nearly all the time, once you get things set up properly. And it's free. There are ads, of course, but most pay television has just as many.
     
  12. ncted

    ncted A leaf on the wind

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    May 13, 2007
    Durham, NC
    I'm jealous. I still have another year and ~$95/month left on my D* contract. I plan to be OTA-only by the end of 2012 though. Congrats!

    -Ted
     
  13. unitron

    unitron Well-Known Member

    16,576
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    Apr 28, 2006
    semi-coastal NC
    And that's where the RF voodoo comes in.:)
     
  14. P42

    P42 Active Member

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    Jan 7, 2003
    01460
    @ncted start your research now, and start your install a few months before your contract ends, so that you can resolve the issues you'll have before you cancel.
     
  15. Saberj

    Saberj New Member

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    Sep 29, 2006
    You guys are lucky. In my area (Lexington, Ky), it shows the ability to get 5 channels. Even with a roof mounted antenna (Which is impossible since I'm in an "apartment") it would only add like 6 more channels, with 3 of them being more PBS. then I could have my choice of 4 PBS channels. :p
     
  16. ncted

    ncted A leaf on the wind

    1,014
    109
    May 13, 2007
    Durham, NC
    Yep. That is the plan. I have been testing a Mohu Leaf antenna in our master bedroom. So far, very consistent reception with it connected to an inexpensive 32" Samsung TV. I get all the major networks with 60-90% signal (based on the Samsung TV's configuration menu).

    Ideally, I would place the antenna in the attic and plug it into the splitter that feeds all of the TVs in the house. I may need to add a small amp. My plan is to pick up a Premier when there is a good deal on service (either <$10/month or discounted lifetime), so I can have an actual Tivo to test with before we drop D*.

    I did try the Premier before with TWC and SDV. The Tivo was perfect, but SDV was horrible. I just need to confirm I can reliably pull in OTA signals with the Tivo, and then I will be set.

    -Ted
     
  17. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    23,136
    1,094
    Jan 31, 2002
    Northern...
    My UHF stations are rock solid, it's the VHF stations that have had issues for me. When all the local stations were UHF there was one station that had the strongest signal for me. But then they switched to their VHF frequency when they shut off their analog signal. Now they are the weakest station I receive.
     
  18. P42

    P42 Active Member

    1,269
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    Jan 7, 2003
    01460
    aaronwt, is it possible your antenna is UHF only?
     
  19. KBrack

    KBrack Member

    44
    5
    Feb 15, 2002
    Twin Cities, MN
    Hi Cut and others,

    I also picked up the Best Buy Clearstream 2/Tivo bundle in order to drop DirecTV and after a bit of frustration, have rock solid reception of all the available channels that I'm interested in.

    I agree with you that Antennas Direct Tech Support is a great resource. When I called for help, they pulled up my location report and said that I needed the VHF add on in order to pull in two of my major networks. I expected a $40-$50 charge, but instead they shipped it out to me at no cost. I added that and the VHF channels were coming in great.

    My big suggestion to you would be to get that antenna outside and positioned properly, if at all possible. I'm in an odd situation I have two towers at about a 90 degree angle that I need to get content from (got two kids and Qubo is on the secondary tower.) I installed the antenna myself and got everything tuned in so I could get all channels. However, I'm near an airport, right on a landing path, so I kept getting dropouts when they were using the runway that brings the planes by my house. I ended up calling an installer and he got the antenna up on the peak of the house and tuned with a meter. Since then, I haven't seen a glitch no matter what the weather or flight path.

    Very happy with the Clearstream 2 with the VHF add on (making it a Clearstream Complete) and the TiVo -- don't miss DirecTV at all.
     
  20. Cut-the-cord

    Cut-the-cord New Member

    12
    0
    Nov 22, 2011
    Hillside, IL
    Me happy now.

    As I posted above, I used the contact form on the Winegard website and explained my setup/needs. Also linked the TV Fools Report.

    Winegard recommended the HD-7694P antenna with a HDP-269 preamplifier. Ordered from amazon & had everything here by Friday. Yesterday the snow melted off the roof so I went up and replaced the DirecTV dish with the Winegard antenna and amp. There is one splitter near the set going to the Tivo and the TV.

    56 channels - perfect picture.

    All channels signal strength is 80 to 97.
    SNR is 35db
    RS Uncorrected = 0
    RS Corrected = 0

    Now I can get some Rogaine and let my hair grow back . . . :D
     

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