Intheswamp Roamio OTA newbie experience...

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by Intheswamp, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Dec 4, 2017 #1 of 41
    Intheswamp

    Intheswamp South Alabama

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    I've posted in a few other threads but figured I'd get my experience in it's on thread to keep from cluttering up the other threads too much. We have been with DISH for 10-15 years and finally have decided we've made them rich enough. Suffice it to say that we are attempting to "cut the cord" and recently purchased a Roamio OTA 1TB unit. We are in a rural area with network transmitters at 21 and 39 miles away. But, a weaker station that is a "must have" is at 48 miles, is a 2-edge station, and is a challenge...but doable. We are currently using a Antennas Direct DB8e in conjunction with a Antennacraft 4-bay (U4000?). These feed into a AD Juice preamp.

    Yesterday afternoon I connected our new Roamio OTA up to see how it would work. I haven't ran Cat5e cable between our router and the Roamio location but figured I'd have no problem connecting via Wifi. Our Sony Blu-Ray player has no problem with the 30' distance nor do our iPhones/Pads and the Roamio will be/is in a better location. I was very, very wrong. The Roamio's WiFi is useless. Once I started the installation the unit simply told me I had a problem with my router/WiFi/septic tank/a neighbor/etc,...a problem with everything but the unit itself.<sigh> I had an old Linksys WRT54G that I had flashed with DD-WRT several years ago and had set to bridge mode. I knocked the cobwebs off of it and hooked it up. The Roamio was happy with the WiFi signal and started the setup routine. For me, having an old router like the WRT54G (and even the newer WiFi of the Sony BR player) beat out the "newer" technology inside of the Roamio was a big disappointment to me. But, as an old friend often said..."It is what it is". o_O

    After WiFi situation was handled the unit went straight into setup and it went fairly well with no major problems. It seemed at times that things had stopped working but I waited it out. The Roamio appeared to reboot a couple of times...one time asking for my location information again *but* with the fields mostly already populated. I'm not sure what that was about.

    Eventually (it did take a while) it got to the channel scan point of the setup and did what it was supposed to...it scanned for channels. It acquired most of the regular channels but my 2-edge station, WMCF/46, was missing. There were several that were acquired that simply were not being received. After fumbling my way through the screens and menus I found the where you can deselect channels that are bogus or that you're not interested in...the list includes *lots* of channels that simply are not in my viewing area. Cleaning that up a bit made it easier to see the actual live, ota channels available to me when I hit "Guide". I then used the manual channel scan button and rescanned the OTA. Interestingly, this time it picked up the elusive WMCF/46.

    The most important feature to us is the tuner/receiver...it needs to be fairly sensitive. We are, as I mentioned, in a somewhat rural area with forest and hills between us and all of the towers. I'm sure we have multi-path and obstruction interference that we deal with. The DISH receiver has been decent in reception and I would say at the moment the Roamio's receiver, for my location and setup, is no better than the receiver in the VIP612 DVR, but maybe no worse, either. I have an older Samsung DTBH260F that I may hook up just to see how it does...it was always a sensitive box when I used it in the past. So, for now, the Roamio's receiver isn't anything I'm excited about...just kinda bland. Maybe that will change in the future. The only channel that I managed to get above about 65 on signal strength was a station that I consistently hit 100 with the VIP612. Other channels that would normally get a 85-100 signal strength with the VIP612 barely showed a 60-65 on the Roamio. I know that the measuring/metering of the two can't be compared as apples to apples but I thought I'd throw this in there for anyone that was interested. Looking at things, the weakest channels on the VIP612 are also the weakest ones on the Roamio...so that is consistency. :)

    I decided to check out the "Apps" section. The only thing I had to look at really was Amazon (prime member). This was a *very* aggravating encounter with signing in to register the Roamio. I entered my info with the cursor and toggle pad over and over and over again...even got to wondering if I knew my email address much less my password!!! I finally went to our computer to check and be sure I knew the password. Thankfully our email program was opened and there was a long list of messages from Amazon basically saying "Here dummy, you have to use this temporary password to register your device"! What? So, everytime I'd try to register the Roamio Amazon was sending me an email saying to use their supplied password. The problem was that our computer is in another room and the Roamio didn't give me a clue that our *real* password wasn't what was required to register the Amazon account....it just kept telling me my entry wasn't good. When I discovered this "little" tidbit of information I was not a happy camper...I might should be aggravated with Amazon but it was Tivo that gave me no clue that the information that they were asking for was not what was really required. Lots of wasted time and click, click, click, click, etc.,. :mad: Anyhow, the streaming aspect appeared to work over our slow WiFi *and* internet connection...but, the Sony Blu-Ray's Amazon app did just as well and did not require an external router/bridge to connect.

    I went back and ventured into "One Pass" recording setup. That seemed easy enough. Just be sure to select which channel you want...it seemed it wouldn't designate "HD" unless I did. It's yet to be seen whether the recordings actually happen. I may insert a splitter for the VIP612 and Roamio so that both can work...but, that will weaken the incoming OTA signal for both. I might could insert a switch rather than a splitter but that's problematical for recording on both.

    I can see that there will be a learning curve with learning the user interface and the remote. I presume this is Hydra, though I haven't seen the name mentioned anywhere though I haven't looked for it, either. Nor have I looked for what version # this is. There is a lot of clutter on the "desktop"/screen/menus and I'm hopefully that the apps that we won't be using can be removed from the screen so that the clutter goes away...I'm definitely not sure, at this point, if that is possible.

    This morning we have our 2-year-old granddaughter visiting so I've hooked the DISH receiver back up so my wife can navigate the menus for children's content. I think that if I had left the Roamio hooked up for my wife to try to work with that the initial direction of the WAF for Tivo would be much similar to the stock market on October 29, 1929. :eek:

    It's new, it's something that won't be learned in a day, it's different, WiFi is a fail, tuner/receiver performance is nothing to get overly excited about, but the menus look interesting and I see potential there. If my DISH DVR would work without a DISH payment each month, that it would work as a "Lifetime subscription" as the Roamio OTA does, I would be happy with it for OTA recording and the Sony Blu-Ray for streaming material...we just want to cut out the monthly satellite subscription bill, we're not looking for a new toy or flashy screens. Maybe the Roamio OTA will work for us...maybe it won't. As I said before, the Roamio OTA has potential but I need more time to study it and work with it....and to *learn* it. This has been my first immersion into the land of Tivo.

    The jury is still out for deliberation. :cool:
    Best wishes,
    Ed
     
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  2. Dec 4, 2017 #2 of 41
    dlfl

    dlfl Cranky old novice

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    Comparing signal strengths between different devices is apples-and-oranges. Seems like the critical question is: do you get 46 with acceptable viewing experience? There should be a readout of RS Corrected and RS Uncorrected error counts somewhere in your settings menus with 45 tuned. Ideally both will be zero but if RS Corrected is zero or climbing slowly your viewing should be good. I'm vague about where to find this because I don't have an OTA and don't use the Hydra UI.

    You probably have Hydra, which many here do not like, although TiVo is fixing issues with it. You can revert to the pre-Hydra UI but do it before you get many recordings because you lose them during that process. You can go back to Hydra later and I don't think you lose recordings in that process. Hydra is optional now but one wonders if eventually they will force it on all.

    Encourage you to browse this forum. There is a lot of info about the OTA that may be helpful.
     
  3. Dec 4, 2017 #3 of 41
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    RS Corrected errors are not displayed on the basic Roamio or Bolt. Hydra or "Classic" are the same.
     
  4. Dec 4, 2017 #4 of 41
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    I won't say the built-in wireless is useless, just that it's not worth anything. I use a wireless bridge. However, my Sony Blu-ray (S6500) also has sucky wireless, not even supporting 5GHz. I have a Sony TV (40W600B) and its wireless is not so good either, but usable.

    The Amazon login issue also bit me and others. Luckily, my computer is in sight so I saw the email about the passcode. As For Prime streaming, I prefer the Roamio. It gets to 1080/p24 and DD+ quickly.

    Good luck.
     
  5. Dec 4, 2017 #5 of 41
    troasti

    troasti Member

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    One thing you need to remember with the Roamio is since there are 4 tuners inside the box it will be splitting the signal which could be an issue with problematic stations.
     
  6. Dec 4, 2017 #6 of 41
    Intheswamp

    Intheswamp South Alabama

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    dlfl thanks for the feedback. Yes I understand that the manner of metering is different. It seems that I've read that a Roamio metering of ~70(?) is the preferred signal level...that stronger signals are attenuated by the AGC??? I'm seeing that with signals down around 50 that there is a good chance of the channel dropping out. I hope to explore the ROTA more tonight. I'll see if I can find where the RS error counts are located. I'm definitely browsing topics...*lots* to learn!!!! :)

    JoeKustra, yes it would be nice if the WiFi was a bit more robust (actually usable!) but for now I'm making do with the old WRT54G in bridge mode via DD-WRT. I may look into a faster bridge but with only a 3Mbps internet speed is it really worth the effort and expense? I'll continue to tinker with the streaming capabilities of the Roamio...I would like to settle into it and get accustomed to it so that I can pull the wife into it...gotta get the WAF going up.

    troasti, I'm not so sure that having four tuners inside the Roamio really matters as it would with an actual 4-way splitter. I'm thinking that once the signal arrives at the front-end of the Roamio receiver that there is amplification involved possibly prior to sending the signal to the four tuners. The reason I say this is that our "target station" is the 2-edge station...a weak signal for us. If the Roamio split the signal as does a 4-way splitter then the losses would be so severe that I don't think we would be receiving WMCF/46. I think there's more involved to it than a simple splitter arrangement in the Roamio. But, I'm no electrical engineer and have no idea how they've got it designed. :)

    One thing I noticed last night was that occasionally a little note would appear at the upper left-hand corner of the screen telling me something to the effect that all four tuners were being used. I can't recall what I was doing at those times but it made me wonder about how to actually use/access each tuner...or if I even need to or am able to? Something I need to figure out regarding the workings of Tivo. ;)
     
  7. Dec 4, 2017 #7 of 41
    osu1991

    osu1991 Well-Known Member

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    With Hydra you click the right arrow key and the other tuners are displayed to the right in 3 windows. With previous OS you push the info button and then down arrow to see the other tuners
     
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  8. Dec 4, 2017 #8 of 41
    JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    It's not a speed issue. It's a power issue. My Netgear R8000 is ugly with six antennae. But I get 90% signal on the floor above the router. Speed is just a by-product of 802.11ac.

    RS Corrected /Uncorrected are per tuner in Diagnostics. That's down lower in the menu that has System Information. Like I said, Corrected always displays zero. I could be counting, just keeping it a secret. :)
     
  9. Dec 4, 2017 #9 of 41
    jerryez

    jerryez Active Member

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    Her is a link to the Hydra user's manual. Read it.
    https://explore.tivo.com/content/dam/tivo/explore/how-to/TiVoExperience_VG.pdf

    I live in Pensacola about 40 miles from the River Styx towers for most of the locals. I have an outside antenna with a 20 foot pole and amp. I get 72 signal strength on most channels, but PBS 42, I get 62. There is one channels that I get 85 on. Where in Southern Alabama are you located.
     
  10. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp South Alabama

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    Nov 14, 2017
    Thanks for the info! I wasn't sure what the tuners were doing but now I can see. I also read in the file that jerryez linked to in a following message (thanks @jerryez) that you can press the LIVE TV button repeatedly and rotate between the different tuners...I didn't get a chance to explore the Roamio last night but maybe tonight I can try these features out.
     
  11. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp South Alabama

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    Nov 14, 2017
    So with WiFi the speed will be more or less consistent but a strong signal results in fewer errors resulting in a higher quality signal...something like that? I've been tinkering with my old Linksys WRT54G and have managed, by changing it's location, to increase its signal from in the 60's to the low 80's (according to the Dlink DIR-655's status screen). Amazing what a foot or two this way or that way will do...or not do.

    "...just keeping it a secret."....<grin>
     
  12. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp South Alabama

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    Nov 14, 2017
    I'm about 45 miles south of Montgomery. The transmitters are to our northwest at 39 miles and to the northeast at 21 miles...the target 2-edge station WMCF/46 is almost due north at around 49 miles. The majority of our recorded content will come from the northwest/39 mile distant transmitters.

    I currently have the 4-bay antennacraft strapped on the mast below the DB8e with it pointed toward these transmitters. The DB8e is pointed towards WMCF/46 to the north...the channels to the northeast are having to come in on the sides of the DB8e and sometimes struggle.

    The mast is a portable setup at the moment at about 12' max height for the DB8e...the 4-bay is down below...not optimal and hoping to get it up another 10' or so once I decide on definite location. I do have one station about 12 miles to the south of me, a fairly strong PBS station that comes in on the backside of the DB8e...it is high-VHF...coming through the backside and into a predominately UHF antenna I think helps keep it from overloading the other signals.

    I think the rolling hills and forests between us and the towers give us a bit of multipath to contend with plus simple obstruction in the signal path...interestingly one of the two transmitters from the NW gives us the best signal...and it is the weaker(?) transmitter.
     
  13. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Ashland, PA...
    I have a tri-band router. As a test I set my TiVo to use the 2.4GHz band. My signal went to 95% from 85%. But the Mini that used it as a host was useless. Put back to 5GHz and the Mini was mostly useless. So much is location and device dependent, it's probably why TiVo doesn't support a wireless connection. It took me a year and several routers before I found a stable solution. I have a lot of free time. I used that Dlink router. Maybe five years ago. :)
     
  14. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp South Alabama

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    One issue I have is the construction material used in the walls of my house. The house was built back around 1950 and the interior walls are metal-backed mortarboard. Between the computer/router and the bridge/Tivo there are two walls which means four sheets of mortarboard. There is a large walkway between both of these walls (a foyer) but the LOS between the router and bridge has the walls between them. Right now the DIR-655 is showing a 54Mbps rate and an 80% signal...better than it has been. :)
     
  15. slowbiscuit

    slowbiscuit FUBAR

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    What happens if you leave the swamp?
     
  16. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp South Alabama

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    Nov 14, 2017
    The ankle monitor won't let me...
     
  17. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp South Alabama

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    Nov 14, 2017
    Well, I tinkered some last night. The Roamio OTA with Hydra is growing on me. This morning I believe my first scheduled recording took place...a kids show on PBS (gotta have some content for the youngest (2yo) granddaughter! :) ). The left arrow button does indeed work well to bring up the hidden three tuners and the "Live TV" button will cycle through the tuners. I have ran into a situation on a few occasions where it seems like the remote or the Roamio box itself just freezes...remote control seems to stop working. But after a five or ten seconds things start working again. o_O

    Being as we still have the satellite receiver operating as we explore Tivo I decided to insert a simple video "T" to split the antenna signal between the VIP-612 sat receiver and the Raomio OTA. It appears to have very slightly reduced signal strength but we just had a wet cold front move in after clear and warm weather and I'm not sure if change in weather is helping or harming reception. By the weekend we will have clear skies and freezing temperatures at night...our lows have been being in the 50F's. I figure that any tropo will be gone and we'll see how this last splitting of the signal affects reception.

    Since I have both receivers hooked up I set up a Monoprice HDMI switch that I've had for ages still new in box. Simple 4-port remote-controlled switch. Green LEDs for ports online and a VERY bright flashing red LED to designate the port in use...those red LEDs are going to meet "Mr. Black Paint". I'm also going to tinker with a Roku Premiere+ (thinking about Sling and it's sports package for college football!)....I figure I'll install it at the switch.

    We've been using an older Harmony remote for years...been dropped several times, screen is a little fuzzy, etc.,. But the all-in-one controller has made our television viewing much easier. We run everything thing through our Denon A/V receiver and feed to the Panasonic panel through a signal HDMI cable. I purchased another Harmony probably a year ago when Costco had them on sale in anticipation of our old remote giving up the ghost. Well, the old remote is still working but I figure it's the time to break the new Harmony remote out and configure it for use with the Roamio. The only problem I *think* I might have is with the HDMI switch, but we'll see. If there is an issue I *might* can liberate an HDMI port on the Denon for the Roku.

    When I first viewed the user interface I was a bit intimidated but I'm beginning to adapt and learn a bit (very small bit) about how to use the Roamio OTA. I've got to get a bit of knowledge under my belt so I can start showing my wife how to navigate things. I think I'm actually warming up to the Roamio a bit...I can see potential!!! :D
     
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  18. jerryez

    jerryez Active Member

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    I tried a week of Sling for free and was disappointed in how slow the programs loaded. This was a year ago, so things might have improved since then. Try the Free week first. I have a 50 foot ethernet cable run thru my attic from my pc to the living room where I have a 7 way splitter, so everything is on wired internet. No wifi. You might want to consider that, if you want Sling or a lot of streaming. I still have Dish with HWS receiver, but only have the Welcome pack for 19.99 and the movie pack for $10. With the TiVo, I get more channel guides for the subs and a better commercial skip.I am not a sports fan, except football and I get enough on my antenna. Montgomery ain't South Alabama;). NW Florida is more LA(lower Alabama) than that, since we get our tv from Mobile.
     
  19. Intheswamp

    Intheswamp South Alabama

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    Nov 14, 2017
    Yeah, it seems that all the streaming services offer a free trial for a week or two. I figure once I get somewhat of a grip working the Roamio and maybe the Roku that I'll start checking some trials of the streaming sources out. My biggest obstacle is my slow internet connection. But, I gotta deal with what it is, so we'll see. From the Roamio OTA to the Mini I can see where a wired connection will help, but as far as from the router to the Roamio OTA I'm not so sure it's going to make much of a difference. With my patched together WiFi it looks like I'm getting 54Mbps at 80% signal strength and I've only got to deal with 720p...it seems to be working with Amazon Prime. But, we haven't tried streaming fast moving (like football) "live" tv. We'll see...

    Naw, Montgomery ain't south Alabama...ya gotta get south of Highland Home for that!!!! And you are kind of right about NW Florida....they oughta just whack the panhandle off around Carrabelle and call it Alabama. ;)
     
  20. jerryez

    jerryez Active Member

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    Except for the state income tax, NW Florida would be better off in Alabama. We do not get our share of state funding from those in charge. Plus we pay no sales tax on groceries.
     

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