Receiving As Many OTA Channels Through Bolt as Through TV?

Discussion in 'TiVo Help Center' started by jsbellin, May 12, 2020.

  1. jsbellin

    jsbellin New Member

    Dec 15, 2007


    I have:
    - a CM 4228HD OTA antenna
    - a CM 7778HD amplifier
    - a Tivo Bolt PVR (4 tuners)
    - a Samsung UN50HU8500 television.

    Connecting the output of my amplifier direct to my TV allows me to receive more OTA channels than connecting the amplifier output to my Bolt. My TV receives several weaker channels (range > 60 mi) that my Bolt cannot.

    1) Does anyone understand from a hardware perspective why this is? How does a TV tune better than a Bolt?

    2) Does anyone know of a different amplifier that might overcome the specific limitations of the Bolt?

    3) Is there a way to configure my Bolt to work around its tuners' limitations?
    Thank you,
  2. jacktechie

    jacktechie Member

    Feb 6, 2013
    South SF...
    Tuner design. The tuner that has the better sensitivity will pull in more distant stations. The Tivo HD definitely pulls in more stations than the Bolt. I have a Samsung 50KU630 and it is between the two. With an old CM4228, it pulled in RF23 73 miles away on the HD, while the Bolt would more often than not get macro blocking due to it just being a marginal input.
  3. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

    Mar 14, 2010
    The last TiVo's with Good OTA reception were the S3's. After that, all subsequent Series performed worse than the S3's. FWIW, Dish's OTA dongle performs as well/poorly as TiVo's S4-S6 models. I believe they both use the same OTA tuner or chip or whatever, as they did in previous generations because TiVo S3 and Dish's old ViP's with built-in single or MT2 two tuner module had the same performance and both were using MT2 OTA tuners. It is fairly well known that TV's perform better with OTA (most likely a superior OTA tuner), perhaps because consumers would expect it as the TV may become the sole OTA experience in most homes.

    I don't think any more amplification is going to help you. In fact, if you amplify too much, you can lose lock on OTA signals. You have to accept that the Bolt is performing as well as possible.

    However, if you have not done so, the following can help with better OTA reception, even for your Bolt:

    1. HEIGHT and MORE HEIGHT. Often people will have their OTA antenna just a smidgen too low for their location. Try getting the antenna HIGHER.

    2. More precise line of sight and best horizontal position for all channels. With an inferior OTA tuner, one has to be pretty darn precise with aiming, so even a touch the wrong way can make all the difference in the world.

    I had a similar experience as yours with my Premieres and Roamios. After a whole lot of experimentation, I found a better spot on the roof, increased the height of the antenna just a bit, and finally found the optimum aim line of eye sight to getting the most stations at acceptable to excellent strength with an aim I would NOT have expected to perform so well. The result has been getting ALL the TV stations I want and MORE and those more troubling channels never pixelate even in bad weather. The key is to be certain my OTA Antenna NEVER moves. All channels now smooth as silk and even getting some low powered stations I couldn't get, and all on the Roamio and Dish Hopper3, both with the inferior performing OTA tuner.

    The best of luck, and let us know how it turns out.
    Last edited: May 17, 2020
  4. jsbellin

    jsbellin New Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    I solved this by removing the cover on my Bolt, allowing it to cool better. Somehow the Bolt runs too hot for the tuners to function ideally.

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