Help me decide (OTA switch)

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by igirl, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. igirl

    igirl Member

    Feb 5, 2011


    We're very long time Tivo owners and currently have a Roamio Pro and Roamio Plus - both 6 tuner lifetime units which is great. We are going to be relocating and considering losing cable tv altogether since the prices have become outrageous - so looking at OTA Tivos and selling our cable boxes.

    One thing I want to possibly stay away from is the "new" UI. Last we tried it, it was not pleasant.
    The Classic UI is perfect and doesn't need replacing.
    So one question - does the Edge force the new UI on users - or is there a rollback?
    Same question for Bolt - Classic UI, or the nasty one? (uh oh is that a "trigger" word?)
    We wish there were a 6 tuner OTA box but apparently not likely to ever be seen.
    Were any of the (cable+antenna) Roamio models 6 tuner? That might actually be a good plan in the event we decide we might want to go back to cable some day. AFAIK there are no other cable+antenna models out there.

    The current special out there seems most attractive. - $150 Bolt 1TB OTA (+$250 lifetime)

    I've also read bits about weaker reception on certain models - if there is any truth to this, what's the story? Thanks in advance for input.
  2. Adam C.

    Adam C. Active Member

    Jul 24, 2017
    I don't think I have ever seen a 6-tuner OTA DVR. Part of the problem is when you split an OTA signal 6 times you're going to get weaker reception on each tuner. Many viewers are already in areas with weak reception to begin with, so splitting the signal that many times could mean complete loss of signal on some channels. Also most OTA viewers are not going to be "power" TV watchers, so there likely would not be much demand for 6 tuners. With my Roamio OTA the most I have ever recorded was 3 shows at once while watching a 4th live channel. I wouldn't be against buying a 6-tuner model, but it's not a requirement for me.
  3. tarheelblue32

    tarheelblue32 Well-Known Member

    Jan 12, 2014
    Raleigh, NC
    Yes, all Edge models are TE4 only. No rollback is possible.

    The Bolt OTA can't be rolled back, but the 4-tuner Bolt and Bolt Vox that do either OTA or Cable can be rolled back to TE3.

    No, the Roamio (and Bolt) cable or OTA boxes are all 4 tuners.

    The 4-tuner Bolts and Bolt Voxs can do cable or OTA.

    As I said above, Bolt OTA is TE4 only, so not a great choice if you're trying to stick with TE3

    My Roamio has good reception. I can't speak to the Bolt OTA tuners as I've never used one.
  4. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

    May 28, 2005
    New Mexico...
    Newer models CANNOT be rolled back to TE3. Regular Bolt models can, as well as Roamios, but the Bolt OTA and Edge models FORCE you to use TE4.

    The Roamio OTA is generally considered to have the best tuners (I do not have one, so I do not speak from experience), but that difference is rarely thought to be significant. I personally use two S3 models and two basic Bolt models for OTA, and while the S3s have slightly better tuners, the difference is small and not worth considering. Only a Bolt will give you 4K output, if you think that is important.

    Under the current horrible business practices with Rovi, I would never consider spending another cent with them. Hopefully that will change; however, for now, it would be impossible for me to support them any longer. But If I wanted to get another TiVo box for OTA, I would look for a used Roamio or base Bolt with lifetime. I actually think the S3 HD boxes still provide a much better user experience than their new garbage, but the limit of only 2 tuners, along with Rovi's continued removal of features from that platform, make it very hard to suggest for anybody who does not already have one.

    If you acquire a Bolt, I would strongly urge you to convert it to an external 3.5" drive so you do not loose everything later on when that junk 2.5" drive in it fails.
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2019
    unclehonkey likes this.
  5. tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Sacramento, CA


    If staying with TiVo, the original Bolt, which can be configured for either OTA or cable, but not both like the older HD units, is what you need. That model can be rolled back to TE3. No rollback is possible from a Bolt OTA or Edge model.

    For app support and performance, the Bolt is a better choice than the older S3 HD units with the stronger OTA tuners. That said, most of the apps offered by Tivo partners are older, slower, and limited, if available at all, even on a Bolt or an edge.

    And FWIW, TE4 isn’t the worst UI, it is just different. Many folks are just fine with it. It would have been great if you could bounce back and forth without losing recordings, but that possibility of losing a library from rolling back is what holds some to TE3 in the first place.
  6. Joe3

    Joe3 Active Member

    Dec 12, 2006
    Boston MA
    Many folks are not fine with TE4. If you read into the many threads here that's when everyone started to change their good opinions about Rovi/TiVo. Meanwhile, Rovi's solution is not to put our money into development of a better product like everyone else. Instead, Rovi pockets any research money and choosing, makes lazy blood sucking attempts to directly or indirectly destroy the TiVo brand by forcing cheap ads for the lazy money, changing their trust and implied contract with their existing customers. Rovi continues falling and trying to convince everyone one that falling to the ground is flying high. However, it only seems like it until hitting the ground, which they are heading.
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2019
  7. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

    Aug 13, 2015
    I've personally been very happy with Amazon Recast in lieu of Tivo. It's much cheaper and requires no other boxes besides Fire sticks. Downside is it's missing some nice Tivo features like auto commercial skip and quick mode, although Amazon claims to be working on skip.
  8. jtdon99

    jtdon99 Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    Recast 1TB 4 tuner is $179 right now ($100 off), just ordered one. I have prime so free delivery tomorrow. Last month I dumped Spectrum and went OTA and got Philo saving $40 a month. If i like the Recast I'll dump Tivo also since they keep taking features away (i.e. push w/ptivo, out of date streaming apps (slow) and the start of ads in the guide. I already have Fire sticks on all my tv's (much faster apps then my Bolt and way faster then the mini's). Having the Recast (I'm told will give me better tuners and the OTA guide will intergrate the Philo stations into it) it won't of course record anything from Philo but Philo has its own free dvr. This will (if I like the Recast, to get rid of the Bolt and the mini's and having to switch inputs on 3 tv's all the time. If the Recast is not loved then I will return it.
    mdavej likes this.
  9. just4tivo

    just4tivo Active Member

    Dec 9, 2015
    Even with TiVo's (ROVI) warts it's still the most seamless, convenient, easy to use, OTA DVR around.
    If want to watch and record OTA nothing else comes close to a Roamio OTA on the old GUI... not Hydra.

    If you want to stream then the internet OTA options look good but are more complicated to use and you rely on your recordings being saved out of your control. The older I get the less I want to learn a new system, hardware complexity, and then there's getting the wife to accept the changes.

    I lived on Dish and DTV DBS for over a decade till the costs skyrocketed. I bailed for OTA and really missed some SAT programming but all in all OTA does what I want for the cost of buying two Roamio OTA boxes with lifetime.
    What I saved not being on DBS recovered the cost of both Roamios in seven months so the TiVos are free from then on.
    Every month I watch OTA I'm $150 in the black.

  10. wmcbrine

    wmcbrine Well-Known Mumbler

    Aug 2, 2003
    BTW, people talk about "Rovi"... technically, Rovi doesn't exist anymore, since they took the "TiVo" name for themselves. But, do you know what they were called before they were "Rovi"? Macrovision. Yes, THAT Macrovision. 'Nuff said. :(
  11. igirl

    igirl Member

    Feb 5, 2011
    Thanks for all the replies - very helpful. Looks like the $149 Bolt 1TB specials are gone now. anyway.

    Besides being forced to use TE4 I wasn't aware newer Tivos had 2.5" drives so that's something to consider.

    Seems like the answer to avoid these things is Roamio OTA. I could care less about app support on Tivo - it's always been horrible and we've always used an Apple TV 4 for that. (Besides our TV's built in apps and Roku which we never even touch.)

    Recast seems like a decent option so am going to look into it as well as Tablo but our current setup has everything routing/switching via a HDMI tuner which also manages surround sound - and Tablo has no HDMI out.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
  12. Narkul

    Narkul Active Member

    Nov 7, 2004
    Roamio OTA 1tb w/all-in (refurb) is a black friday deal at weaknees. Refurb probably means new hard drive or customer just didn't like it. $299

    TiVo Black Friday Specials 2019
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
    Mikeguy and mdavej like this.
  13. tapokata

    tapokata Active Member

    Apr 26, 2017
    Sacramento, CA
    You won't find an HDMI connection on the recast, either. The Tablo and the Recast are "headless" DVR systems. Neither of them connect to a display directly, but rather rely on a FireOS device connected to the television (in the case of the recast) or various streaming box/stick devices such as the Firestick, Roku, etc.

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