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Questions about coming back to Tivo

Discussion in 'TiVo Roamio DVRs' started by Indiana627, May 10, 2018.

  1. Indiana627

    Indiana627 Member

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    Jan 24, 2003
    Vestal, NY
    Hi all,

    I was a fairly early Tivo adopter way back in ~2003 when I first got an SD-DVR80 for my Directv. At the time I didn’t really understand what Tivo was! But it didn’t take long for my wife and I to figure it out. We stayed with the Directv-Tivos for quite a few years until we finally were forced to go with D* in house DVR platform when they split from Tivo. Today I still use the D* HR54 and HR24 models. I always loved D* for their PQ, which I think is still great. But over the last 15 years and 2 kids later, our lives and TV habits have changed and I’m seriously thinking of ditching D* and going with combination of OTA and an OTT service (likely D*NOW to start).

    For OTA, we still can’t be without a DVR. I’ve been eyeing the TiVo Roamio OTA VOX for our main room and then a TiVo Mini VOX in the bedroom so we can watch the recorded shows from either room via multiroom. I like that the Roamio OTA has 4 tuners as we still do watch a lot of network shows and many times now we can be recording 3-4 at the same time. Based on prices on the Tivo, site these 2 boxes would cost me about $625 with tax, which would equate to about a 6 month payback by dropping D* at $135/mo and adding D*NOW at $35/mo (net monthly savings of $100).

    But I’ve been away from Tivo for so long, I’m wondering if it’s still as good as I remember it. So that’s why I’m here. Definitely want to get something that's stable and does its basic job of recording and playing back the shows we want.

    Is their overall service, products, software, etc. as good as they used to be in the 2000s?

    Are the Roamio OTA VOX and Mini VOX good products?

    Any other things I should be aware of before making a final decision?

    I appreciate the help.
     
  2. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Guide data is much worse since the Rovi takeover, but IMO, everything else is about the same.
    Yes
    Tivo won't run any OTT services like DTVN. So you'll need to use another streaming device for that (I prefer Roku), plus a universal remote to make source switching easier (optional).

    A cheap device that's both an OTA DVR (dual tuner) AND can run OTT apps is the Channel Master Stream+. But it takes some black magic to get everything working. And since this is the initial release, it's not nearly as reliable, stable or feature rich as Tivo. Plus it's not a multi-room platform. But if you like to tinker and don't mind being on the bleeding edge, you might want to check it out. It's subscription-free and costs less than a Mini. Here's some info and a couple of videos: Stream+ Media Player with Internal TV Tuners, Android TV and Google Live Channels DVR, Channel Master CM-7600 (CM7600)

    My favorite cheap universal is Nevo. I'm controlling 18 devices with mine including Tivo, Mini, Stream+, several TVs, AVR, several gaming systems, home automation, media players, streamers (Roku, Fire, etc.). I wrote this wiki and can answer any questions you might have.
    Getting started with Xsight and Nevo - JP1 Remotes

    Personally, I would skip the VOX (I think voice control is useless) and get an older Roamio and Mini to save some money.

    DTVN works pretty well these days, and cloud DVR release is imminent. I've been using the cloud DVR for a while now in beta.

    Good luck
     
  3. OrangeCrush

    OrangeCrush New Member

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    Feb 18, 2016
    First and foremost, how's your OTA signal? Make sure you know what all you can get OTA and the level of antenna you will need to get everything you'd want. Check your TVFool.com report to get an idea if you don't know or haven't looked in a while.

    Assuming that's all good and you've got good reception, I think the Roamio OTA and Mini are still good products. I've never had any Tivos from before this era. I don't have the "VOX" editions, but the Roamio is exactly the same--just a newer remote and the Mini Vox's come with the new remote and some other upgrades that are irrelevant to me, so they should be the same. There are two big problems with their software right now, but you can solve/avoid them both. "Hydra" and the streaming apps. I'll talk about Hydra later.

    The streaming apps on the Roamio and older minis are simply garbage and I don't expect they're much better on the newer Mini VOX. Netflix, Hulu, HBO and some others are supported, but they're so sluggish and crashy, you're better off just disabling them all and using a $35 roku stick for your OTTs. This means you'll have a 2 remote future and need to get used to changing the TV inputs with the remote, but it's still worth not using them through the Tivo.

    The other issue is "Hydra." This is the new modern UI, it's totally different from what you experienced years ago, but it's also really half baked. I think a new Roamio is going to come with this version installed, but you can (and should) downgrade it to the old UI which is much much much better. Some day we may all be forced to hail Hydra, but for the foreseeable future, the old UI is a better experience. ESPECIALLY on Roamio. If you're setting up a new Roamio, the downgrade process should be fairly painless, it'll just take some time. There's some ritual you perform by mashing buttons on the remote to make it happen, and then it'll downgrade to the older UI and you're on your merry way.

    Some more things you should be aware of: the Roamio and the Mini must be able to see each other on the same WIRED network. They will not connect to each other over wifi. If you can get an ethernet cable from your home router to where the Roamio is going to be, and another ethernet cable to where the Mini Vox will be, no sweat. If that's going to be an ordeal, you've got some options to consider. Best bet is using a couple of these: https://www.amazon.com/Actiontec-Et...78825&sr=8-4&keywords=actiontec+moca+adapters They're pricey ($130 for two, and you will need two unless you can easily run ethernet to the Roamio), but they work better than powerline adapters or other workarounds.

    Lastly, you can probably save a good $100 off the purchase prices of these TiVos if you buy on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. No guarantees, but there's usually a decent sale then. They might also have some non-Vox editions up for sale which are even cheaper. (The Vox stuff is pretty useless, it's just hard to find non-Vox for sale from non-sketchy sources. I wouldn't buy Tivo equipment from eBay)
     
  4. Indiana627

    Indiana627 Member

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    Jan 24, 2003
    Vestal, NY
    Thank you both for your replies and good info. To answer a few of your points/questions:
    • Yes I know the Tivos won’t run any OTT. I’ve already got a Roku in the bedroom and my living room TV can have the DTVN app installed directly on it.
    • Non-VOX models: I didn’t know these models were available without the voice integration. I didn’t see them on Tivo’s site. I’ll research those more.
    • I can get good OTA signal now as I have little indoor antenna hooked up to my D* AM21 OTA box as a backup for rain fade or satellite outages. But I’d get a bigger/better antenna in the attic if I go to OTA being my only source for locals.
    • I already have hard wired network connects to living room and bedroom now where my D* DVRs are, so there’d be no issue hard wiring the 2 Tivos together for multiroom.
    • Good to know about Hydra.
    Thanks again and I appreciate the advice. And will gladly accept more advice from anyone else!

    Edit: I just saw how old my signature is. All that gear is long gone!
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2018
  5. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Forum seems to be about 50/50 on love/hate Hydra. I personally like it and have used it since early beta. But I never used the features that are now missing anyway (PC transfers and "Live Guide" (vertical program listing per channel vs. grid guide)). You can always go back to the old software if you prefer, but VOX features won't work if you do. I never liked the old UI to begin with, so I don't miss it in the least. New one is more intuitive to me at least, and more similar to Netflix and other apps in terms of layout and navigation.

    For non-VOX, check Amazon, ebay or used market, if you're interested. I just think they're overpriced, and I'm not a fan of voice control. I find it much quicker and easier to use buttons. Totally a personal preference thing (like Hydra).

    Obviously, there's no reason to use 2 remotes if you get universal remotes. All Rokus except the stick work fine with universals, as do all Tivos, TVs, AVRs and soundbars.

    If you keep your DirecTV DECA adapters, you can use those instead of MOCA if you want to save some money. Here's a little writeup I did about that several years ago.
    http://www.avsforum.com/forum/26-ho...a-cheap-alternative-moca-htpcs-extenders.html

    This antenna and amp works great for me in the attic:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MYMVPVX
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C5ILO9K (I hear Wayne Shorter in my head every time)
     
    tim1724 likes this.
  6. Mikeguy

    Mikeguy Well-Known Member

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    As to Guide issues: esp. for OTA, you likely will see only a small, if that, issue with regard to Guide completeness.
     
  7. tapokata

    tapokata Member

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    Sacramento, CA
    I've been an off again / on again TiVo user for a number of years, but all of it OTA, starting with a couple of Tivo HD's, then a Premiere. We had a few years where we picked up the local IP cable service from our Internet provider (which doesn't provide a cable card, ala Uverse, so the Tivo's went into storage), but went back to OTA and OTT about a year ago, trading up one of our lifetime service HD's for a Bolt and Mini.

    The guides are not as robust as they may have been in TiVo's heyday, but they're still serviceable and useful. We haven't made the jump to Hydra, as the previous UI is very suitable for our needs. The netflix, amazon, and hulu apps work, although not perfectly. Still, we use the Bolt as a single source on one TV, and use the connected Mini as part of a smart TV environment on an LG set (using the LG Magic remote for all control of the Mini, an Amazon fireTV box, and WebOS apps on the set).

    With ethernet at both locations, networking shouldn't be an issue. If you will be using a network switch at either location, watch out for the energy saver functions on the switch, as that may cause some disconnects between the Mini and Roamio.

    There are other choices, but as in everything, there are trade-offs. Channel Master is not a multi-room solution, although they have a good guide, and offer SLING TV as an OTT app. Tablo IS a multi room solution, but requires an OTT box or service for their app (although it's well integrated in most OTT environments), and as it's an in-home streaming device, there is a lag time for transcoding and buffering the OTA signal to the OTT app, making channel surfing a test of patience. Their PQ is not the highest quality (a lot of artifacts and jaggies, especially on 480i OTA material). TiVo has a higher cost of entry (equipment costs) and would be brilliant with a more robust suite of OTT apps (ie SlingTV, DTVN, etc.), but most of us aren't holding our breath in anticipation. On the other hand, the "commercial skip" function on TiVo is brilliant. Pick what serves you best- nothing is perfect.

    The hope is that TiVo will continue to be a viable option in the future, but time will tell. Both SLING and Playstation VUE now offer cloud based DVR services, and depending on the market, offer streams for local OTA stations- down the road, a standalone DVR such as from TiVo or Tablo may not be needed at all.
     
  8. Indiana627

    Indiana627 Member

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    Jan 24, 2003
    Vestal, NY
    Thanks everyone for the continued input. I live in a very low DMA (~155) so it will be a long time before any OTT offers our locals. In fact, we had to wait a long time to get our HD LILs on D* due to our low DMA ranking. Now history is repeating itself as DMAs wait to have their locals added to OTT offerings. This is why I'm looking at Tivo for my locals. Plus I don't fully trust streaming as my sole source due to its still sometimes fragile nature of having service failures. Plus the internet in my area can go out quite a bit for a few minutes at a time.
     
  9. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    VOX hardware is no different than the older non-VOX boxes, the only thing different is the remote and the horrible Hydra software. If you want the old UI on a new VOX unit, you just need to follow instruction in other threads here to revert to the older operating system. But do it BEFORE you start using the new box, since going from TE4 (Horrible Hydra) to TE3 (classic TiVo UI) requires you to loose ALL recordings unless you have another box where you can temporarily save them.
     
  10. JoeKustra

    JoeKustra in the other Alabama TCF Club

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    Ashland, PA...
    Using tvguide.com as a rough guess, other than the few very local channels it looks like your lineup would include Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. But even that will be hard. BTW, tvguide.com and TiVo use the same database for channels.
     
  11. OrangeCrush

    OrangeCrush New Member

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    Feb 18, 2016
    Are you running Hydra on a Roamio or a Bolt? I've heard mixed-to-positive things from Bolt owners, but Roamio owners seem to hate it. I've stayed away for the time being, but I might give it a whirl if the Roamio hardware isn't actually struggling with it.

    True. In my case, I'm invested in several sticks, so a universal remote isn't going to work, but I'll probably start transitioning the sticks to boxes once they start getting obsolete.

    Actually, the VOX Minis are newer hardware (4k support, faster processor). VOX Bolts and VOX Roamios are the same as non-vox.
     
  12. Indiana627

    Indiana627 Member

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    Jan 24, 2003
    Vestal, NY
    You bring up a good topic: 4K. Is the Roamio 4K compatible? None of my locals are broadcast in 4K but in case they start doing it someday it would be good if the Roamio can handle it.
     
  13. tapokata

    tapokata Member

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    Apr 26, 2017
    Sacramento, CA
    The Roamio is not 4K compatible, but I wouldn't worry about it for your local OTA. The new ATSC standards for local broadcasting, which might eventually support 4K, haven't been implemented, and will require new tuning hardware- in other words, none of the current tv tuning technology- including anything from TiVo- will support 4K. If you buy a newer 4K capable TV, the TV will likely do a better job of scaling the OTA broadcast to the TV's native format than the Tivo box.

    Where 4K may can be of some benefit is in OTT streaming, when connected to a 4K capable display. That said, even with a TiVo Bolt, the 4K app development is lagging, and none of the TiVo apps support any of the HDR (extended color display) formats.
     
  14. Indiana627

    Indiana627 Member

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    Jan 24, 2003
    Vestal, NY
    Good to know. I just bought a new Sony 4K TV in January and it is phenomenal at upscaling my D* HD feeds to its native 4K.
     
  15. mdavej

    mdavej Well-Known Member

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    Roamio. A little sluggish at times, hardly notice it. But I'm not very picky about that kind of thing.
     
  16. V7Goose

    V7Goose OTA ONLY and Loving It!

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    New Mexico...
    Yes, and the Bolt VOX is black instead of ugly white, but none of that has any bearing at all on the OP saying he couldn't find info on non-VOX models or my telling him he could buy any VOX model and revert it to the older UI and thus make it a non-VOX model.

    So I repeat, for the subject at hand, VOX vs non-VOX, the hardware is the same except for the remote. And I neglected to clarify that the VOX remote will still work perfectly with a non-VOX box.
     

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