Moving from DirecTV to Tivo Bolt- Questions

Discussion in 'TiVo Bolt DVR/Streamer' started by geauxjp, Jan 21, 2016.

  1. geauxjp

    geauxjp New Member

    Jan 21, 2016
    Hopefully there are some ex-DirecTV customers in here...

    I'm currently a DirecTV subscriber out of contract & looking at options. I have a Genie + mini clients + 2 DVR's throughout my house and really enjoy them, but I am tired of paying nearly half my $150 monthly bill to equipment rental fee's. I've been researching the Bolt for a few weeks now and it seems like a viable solution to replace what I have with little compromise and less cost. BUT, I have a few nagging questions I am hoping someone could answer for me. I lurked all the threads but didn't find clear answers, so here goes:

    1- Can the Bolt handle a Cox Cable Card AND an OTA signal at the same time? Or is it one or the other? I like using my OTA for the locals so I don't have to deal with the annual threats of DTV removing my local stations due to contractual disputes with the broadcast companies.

    2- DirecTV has a SWiM splitter in the attic connecting all the set top boxes to the same network. Would this splitter have to be replaced if I switch to the Bolt + Mini's?

    3- The DirecTV system makes the total number of tuners and recordings that are spread across all the DVR's (3 in my case) transparent to the user. Once you network everything, all TV's have access to the same list of recordings and the same set of tuners no matter what DVR they reside on. I understand you can network 2 Bolts, then assign Mini's to one or the other. What happens when I want to watch live TV on a Mini assigned to a Bolt with no tuners available? Will it automatically switch to the other Bolt? Same question for recordings; what happens if I want to watch shows from a Mini recorded on different Bolts?

    4- If I purchase 2 Bolts for the same household, do I need to pay 2 subscription fee's to Tivo?

    Any other experiences you have would be welcome. Thanks in advance!
  2. TonyD79

    TonyD79 Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    Columbia, MD
    I recently switched my main tv from DirecTV to Bolt (fios) because of a tree problem. I can help some but not all.

    1. I don't think so. There is only one RF input so I am not sure how you would do cable plus OTA. However, if you got a Roamio OTA and put it in your network somewhere, you can share recordings but not live viewing. The same if you got another Bolt and configured it for OTA.

    2. By SWiM splitter, you just mean the coax splitter, not the big box? If the former, yes. SWiM is split using a normal RF splitter and supports DECA, which is DirecTV's implementation of MoCA. If you mean the big box, then that would have to be replaced.

    3. They are not totally transparent with DirecTV. They are not shared for recording. The playlist is shared. With Tivo, you get a playlist for every Bolt or Roamio. The playlist from other Bolts or Roamios are in their own folders, so one extra level of the playlist.

    The playlist you see from a Mini is the same you see for the host Bolt or Roamio. If you have only one Bolt, they are in one list.

    When a mini is assigned to a Bolt, it uses one of those tuners. If all tuners are in use, you can switch to another Bolt. It does not do it automatically.

    The mini will see all recordings from all Bolt's. The view (what is in a subfolder) is based upon the host Bolt.

    Think of the mini as an extension of the host Bolt with only one tuner available.

    4. Yes. Not for the first year of each Bolt's life.
  3. haggis444

    haggis444 Master of my domain

    Jan 20, 2004
    geauxjp...I am almost in the same situation as you. I was getting ready to start a new thread and saw yours so I thought I would add my 2 cents.

    The issue I have 7 TVs but only a max of 2 are in use at anytime, that is not conducive to DirecTVs pricing model. I purchased a Bolt and 1 Mini and am currently testing it out. I have been using OTA and tomorrow Time Warner comes to setup the cable card and tuning adapter. I have been trying to compile a list of pros and cons for what I have now vs. TiVo+TW. Not sure I have captured them all but here is where I am:

    DirecTV Pros:

    1. Long time sub, near flawless uptime and customer service
    2. Picture quality, # of channels, new sat to do 30 4K streams going up this year---although I don't have a 4K TV purchase coming anytime soon
    3. Web interface and apps are OK, not perfect but good

    DirecTV Cons:

    1. $150+/month-no pay channels
    2. Lack of innovation on hardware and software for some time now (compared to Dish and TiVo)
    3. AT&T integration has been a pain for me---I am sure it will get better

    TiVo/TW Pros:

    1. The Interface
    2. Innovation, kmttg, native Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc. apps
    3. TiVo iPad/iPhone app is awesome, lot of control from the Website as well-streaming to iPad without that DirecTV kludgy GenieGO
    4. Slightly more open system
    5. One bill for Internet and TV
    6. TV package much cheaper than DirecTV-low OpEx
    7. Dedicated box per TV without paying subscription costs (Mini)

    TiVo/TW Cons:

    1. Huge capital outlay in the beginning
    2. Change is always hard
    3. TW 4K future
    4. TW Tuning Adapter/Cable Card sometimes can be problematic
    5. Picture quality???? May be a PRO don't know yet
    6. I really would like to end up with more than 4 tuners so will probably have to swap Bolt for a Bolt Pro if and when it is released

    I would welcome anyones opinion, additions, changes, deletions. I don't want to ignite a DirecTV vs. Time Warner (cable) vs. TiVo bashing thread. Just trying to make the right decision for my situation which sounds very similar to geauxjp. If I run the ROI #s it does not make sense to move to Bolt+6 Minis+Lifetime, however there is resale value there and for me I would much rather fork out the CapEx now vs. OpEx monthly.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
  4. geauxjp

    geauxjp New Member

    Jan 21, 2016
    haggis444, It looks like you I are indeed in the same boat. :up: I'm very interested in hearing more as you explore the Bolt. If it were just me, I would have jumped head first into the Tivo pool already. But I am fearing a crisis for the rest of the household if I uproot a perfectly fine DTV setup (aside from the $150 bill with no premiums!) :)
  5. snerd

    snerd Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2008
    Maybe, sort of. Brief summary of longer story: The same frequencies are used for catv and OTA, so you can't just combine all catv and all OTA on the same coax.

    However, it is technically possible to mix some catv frequencies together with different OTA frequencies on the same coax, by using an old (almost obsolete) VHF/UHF diplexer. The easiest mix is to take VHF frequencies from catv while taking UHF frequencies from OTA.

    This has been done successfully with a Roamio base. I don't know if the same trick has been tried with a Bolt. Getting guide information requires some jumping through hoops.

    A simpler but more costly solution is to buy another TiVo and use one with a cable card while using the other for OTA.
  6. GoodSpike

    GoodSpike Active Member

    Dec 17, 2001
    Seattle, WA
    Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see a two Bolt answer. The answer is no, you would have to pay twice. The alternative is to get a Mini.
  7. TonyD79

    TonyD79 Well-Known Member

    Jan 4, 2002
    Columbia, MD
    You did. I answered question number 4 way up...

  8. ml2014

    ml2014 Member

    Dec 27, 2015
    Another new (returning) Tivo Bolt from Directv customer.
    I have Directv from '95 and with the cost upwards of over 130.00 per month and paying Comcast as well for internet/basic tv of over 100 per month I decided to drastically reduce my DTV subscription, though I'm still hanging on to it just in case I change my mind on the Tivo Bolt/ 3 mini setup.
    So far though I'm really liking it, and agree with most of the pro's and cons listed by haggis444.

    It's a lot of cash outlay at first, but with diligent price shopping I've been able to reduce some of the cost by finding the best deals etc. I can make the money back in less than 7 months. It's nice to be able to not have to pay for every tv I have, even if they seldom get used. The iOS app is nice, the Netflix etc integration is really nice, the speed, skip mode, etc.
    Being able to fire up the Amazon Firestick and watch recordings on the Tivo app is pretty cool as well.
    Hopefully Tivo will get the OOH streaming available soon, if not there's always my Slingbox.

    What I'll probably do with Directv is run out the rest of my NHL Center Ice package in spring and then suspend service for a while till I really decide to get rid of it for good, but actually feeling a little bad about doing that, lol.
    I'll get the online version of Center Ice,Gamecenter Live, for next season.

    I just hate to depend on Comcast for tv programming and hopefully they don't lag behind on some of the advances coming for 4k etc.

    I do have a contract with Comcast that runs out in the fall, so my rates may be higher then, and I could be singing a different tune, we'll see though.

    The only "issue" I'm having with Tivo is the mini ethernet connections sometimes hang or black out form time to time, but thats probably an issue with my router/network than anything else.

    Come spring with our heavy rain storms we get it will be nice to not see "searching for signal" whilst I'm trying to watch NHL Playoffs!
  9. geauxjp

    geauxjp New Member

    Jan 21, 2016
    My reasoning for getting 2 Bolts would be to double the tuner availability, a Mini wouldn't help there. Hopefully they release a Pro version this year, I'll hang tight until then.
  10. golf4dj

    golf4dj DJ

    Nov 6, 2005
    Atlanta Area
    I am generally in the same boat. DTV user since 1998 with a short 6 month shot with Verizon FIOS when they entered with their fiber service while I lived in the DC area 7 or 8 years ago.

    Experience with DTV has been rock solid - just tired of the $140 - $170 bill that requires that I call every 3 months to let them know I want to cancel my premiums which generally results in them offering me a $20 to $30 discount. This is on top of my $65 Comcast internet service

    I just bundled my TV and Internet with Comcast resulting in significant savings and just picked up a cable card this afternoon. I feel a bit guilty cause I have been with DTV for so long and I am sure I will get some feedback from the FAM as they will have to get used to another interface and channel lineup (one advantage with DTV has been the fact that the channel numbers are the same - we have moved cross country 4 times in the last 10 years).

    Anyway, at the end of the day, I will probably save roughly $80 - $100 a month due to bundling and investment in the Tivo Bolt and Minis. While I feel a bit like I am cheating on DTV I am sure I will get over it in no time provided that the install goes well tonight.
  11. haggis444

    haggis444 Master of my domain

    Jan 20, 2004
    I am finally up and running with my cable card. My second one but now I think my first one was fine. I got the TA and CC from TW's store, so I tried to do a self install. No go. Turned out they had to do a truck roll to remove the "Internet Only" filter from my line. That is after I convinced them that the chances of both the brand new TA and CC being bad were very slim. Then after the filter was removed this morning they could not get the CC to pass the final stage where it was CP Auth (Copy Protection I assume). They did get the TA working. So I had to go to TW AGAIN and wait for 3 people to pay to get their service reinstated and while the escorted a 4th lady out for yelling at them for over charging her $21--makes me miss the Apple Genius bar. ;) Anyway had the exact same issue with the 2nd CC. After an hour just to try something I swapped out my 1x2 1Ghz splitter (one side went to the cable modem which has never had an issue and other to TA) for a 2Ghz DirectTV splitter. The CC was immediately up and running? After 3 seemingly smart techs on the CC line no none mentioned this. Anyway, no big deal. Finally, I had picture breakup so I put in a 1x4 powered splitter i pre-ordered from Amazon and now my Bolt finally seems to be working. I will test this weekend and let you know my thoughts.

    I just launched my browser to and watched a recorded show on my Bolt. Very cool.
  12. haggis444

    haggis444 Master of my domain

    Jan 20, 2004
    Oh man I fell ya. That is my next step. If I can get the wife and kids to be OK with it I am probably sending DirecTV packing--but more testing to do to be sure. But if the experiment fails at least you and I will have a nice TiVo to watch from our respective couches. :)
  13. Edwil55

    Edwil55 New Member

    Jan 24, 2016
    So I also have DTV and am thinking hard about dropping them, but looking at much simpler less costly alternatives. I pay roughly $100 to DTV have a Genie and a second HD DVR, so total of 7 tuners, plus whole house DVR, 250 channel per month package no extras, off contract over a year. I do get ST during football season, so that would one thing I'd be giving up, but also figure by August they will be offering me all these great deals to come back. I pay roughly $68 per month to TWC for internet and home phone. No current subscriptions to extra packages, i.e. Netflix, etc. So total cost around $170 per month.

    Really don't need that many the five on the Genie was fine, wanted to get a mini for 2nd TV, this was in the early days of the mini's think they were in short supply so the person I spoke with "offered" me a full HD DVR instead. For the most part equipment has been fine except during bad rainy/cloudy weather.

    We record alot, only thing I watch live is sports, but probably close to 90% of what we record are the network channels. Live in a 2 person household for the most part.

    Looking at two options:

    First: Go OTA via antenna, subscribe to Hulu and CBS All Access, and Sling TV for ESPN. I'd mainly use the antenna for the occasional time I wish to watch something live. I do live in one of the cities that CBS AA streams to live, but no NFL games, so again the antenna for that. Al lthe network shows I watch from what I understand should be available either via Hulu or CBS AA. I have a Roku on one TV sop could use all of these products through that. Second TV have a "smart" DVD so again could use that or I buy a 2nd Roku. Total cost per month for those 3 subscriptions would be around $42 per month

    Second. Buy a Tivo Bolt (Years back had a Tivo DVR through DTV and did really love the little guy with the big ears. My wife to this day says it was the best gift I ever got) I'd likely still get Sling TV again for ESPN, and may also do Hulu for extra content particularly since it could be streamed through the Bolt from what I understand. I would want the capability of "Whole House DVR" so believe I'd also need a mini Tivo? This would give me the ability to record and watch anything on either TV, and also streamed content, correct?? Since I mainly record networks, there are only 4 of them so a 4 tuner DVR should work out fine. Initial cost would be $300 to $400 for the Bolt + another $100 for the Mini. After 1st year $150 subscription for the Bolt, no programming cost for the Mini?? So after the 1st year would cost me around $50 per month for Tivo, Sling, and Hulu.

    Does everything on my two options sound about right as far as giving me the functionality I describe? What is the Bolt Pro rumored to provide. I hate to spend the money now on a Bolt, only to see a better one come out in six months, but that is always somewhat true. While the present 4 tuners are fine, I am a little concerned with the bolt recording capacity though. How many hours of HD would the 1 TB hard drive hold, around 300??

    I'm kind of leaning a bit more towards the 1st option only because it will allow me to see how well I really do handle "Cutting the Cord" with little capital outlay. And would also leave the door open to go back to DTV IF they offered me a real good deal. And would give me the option to wait to see what and when the Bolt Pro option may give me.

  14. bonscott87

    bonscott87 Done.

    Oct 3, 2000
    Hulu is really hit or miss. Really need to do the free trial or sub for a month to see if you really can get what you want. Problems I have with Hulu:

    1) Need to authenticate with your cable logon to get a lot of shows. So if you have to do that then what's the point of cutting the cord.

    2) A lot of Hulu programming will not be available streaming to Roku/Moibile/TV app. Why? They don't have the rights and it's only available if you're on an actual PC.

    3) May not be an issue but a lot of the network shows are on an 8 day delay. Not a problem if you don't care about watching it right away.

    4) Only limited number of episodes available. Usually 5 max for the current season, often less. So if you don't stay on top of it episodes will drop off and you'll miss stuff.

    I know a lot of people love Hulu but I just don't see it because of the above issues and more. Much better off with a Tivo or other OTA DVR and record what you want for free and you'll for sure have the episodes.

    What we have in our household:

    Tivo Bolt for OTA...covers the 5 networks and more, this is probably 90% of our viewing anyway.

    Netflix (had forever anyway)
    Amazon Prime (have it for the shipping anyway)
    VuDu for VOD movies that we don't want to wait come to Netflix or Amazon

    For the few series on "cable" channels, can buy it on Amazon or just wait a year for it to come to Netflix.

    Most likely in the fall I'll pick up a Roku and get Sling TV. Sometimes you just want to veg out to American Pickers or something in the background. Plus get ESPN with it.
  15. Chuck_IV

    Chuck_IV Active Member

    Jan 1, 2002
    You can still buy a Roamio Pro and they now give you the same 1yr included in the price deal that the Bolts have. Granted it's not a Bolt but it does have 6 tuners, more recording space and isn't much slower.

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