I am new to the Tivo Community, but have read a lot of the posts. Being more tech-savvy than my husband (I hook up everything in our house), but not knowledgeable on ALL the technical specifications, I am looking for some assistance.
We had a D*TV Tivo receiver (not HD) until about 8 months ago. We LOVED it, but in our haste to switch to HD, we dropped our service, sold our receiver and switched to D*Network. We absolutely HATED the DVR user interface, and have disconnected the system although we are still paying for service until our contract ends.
So, we got 2 used Series 2 (not DT) Tivos and switched to cable. Our cable company only offers local channels in HD (which is what we watch most often anyway). So, here's the problem(s):
1. The HD channels are added to the end of the channel lineup. So, if you are on cable channel 13, it shows NBC in regular (non HD) broadcasting. In order to get to the HD channels, you have to go to channel 80-1. All the HD channels have this funky format.
Tivo does not recognize these channels, so to solve this problem, I have split the incoming Coaxial cable and have one line going directly to the TV and one going to the Tivo then to the TV. So, to watch HD, we simply change the input.
This works OK, but we usually end up watching the shows in non-HD. We really wish the cable company would put HD programs on the regular cable channel. Is there a way to make Tivo recognize the HD channels? Even if we can't record in HD, it would be nice if we could just change the TV to the HD channels. I am also assuming that we could still view the HD channels through the Tivo. Am I incorrect in assuming this?
2. Our older HD TV has enough inputs to accommodate this arrangement, but our newer HD TV only has 1 coax input. It does have component inputs, HDMI, RGB, etc. But, when I split the signal as above, I must run the coax directly to the TV (for HD) using the only coax input. I hooked up the Tivo using the component (Red, Yellow, White) cables, but the picture is seriously degraded (even worse than just regular broadcasting). Since the Tivo doesn't support HDMI, there really is no other way for me to hook up the Tivo and preserve the picture quality. Does anyone have any ideas I don't know about?
So, basically we are unhappy with the way the Tivos are operating right now. We considered using the same Tivos, but switching to D*TV satellite service because it is our understanding that their HD programming is on the same channel as their regular broadcasting. IN other words, if you are on NBC, then you will see both regular and HD broadcasting on the same channel. I think this would solve the problem with splitting the signal and degrading the picture quality. Of course, we wouldn't be able to record in HD, but we should be able to view HD programming through the Tivo box. Is this correct? How would the Tivo interface with the satellite box? I am assuming one coax line from the outside to the sat box to the Tivo box to the TV. Yes? If it's only one coax line, then I think I would be OK on our newer HD TV. Our other concern is using the RF to change channels, as we have noticed in the past that this seriously slows down the channel changing speed. Does anyone know if the Tivo can interface with the sat box using the serial cable? Does this speed up the channel changing?
Not that I want to spend the $$ for 2 Series 3 Tivo boxes, but if I did, would they recognize the funky HD channel format stated above?
We are also considering buying a couple D*TV Tivos HR10's from Ebay and hooking them up with D*TV Service. I have called D*TV and they say they will still support these boxes. (I also found an article saying they have extended their agreement with D*TV for the next 3 years for customers who still have these boxes). I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have any connectivity issues, since these boxes support HDMI. But, D*TV told us that we wouldn't be able to get the new HD programming coming soon. I guess I could live with this, but are there any other things I should be aware of with going this route? Has anyone successfully hacked their DTV Tivos? I haven't done this yet, but would be interested in increasing the hard drive, networking, etc. (I replaced my hubby's broken iPod video screen and faceplate, so I think I would be up to the task.)
I am EXTREMELY hesitant to just go with DTV's DVR as I am partial to the Tivo user interface. I hate how I cannot find somewhere to "test drive" the DTV user interface to see if I can live with it before I buy it. In particular, I hated the way D*Network implemented the Search for Programs to Record feature. I also really like the Tivo guide data format.
I know this is a lot, but could really use some help answering these questions. I am so tired of spending $$ thinking something is going to work, only to find out it doesn't work like I think it is going to. Would love to hear if anybody has any ideas I haven't thought of yet.