About a month ago, I decided to dump our cable television service and go terrestrial with the help of a Tivo HD. I gave myself one month to work out the kinks before the new T.V. season started, so we did not miss a beat. Actual time took me two weeks of, probably annoying, focus; Christi was probably sick of me being on the roof, on the cell phone, with me asking her “What is the signal strength now?”
Well, the project was an overwhelming success.
We are about 60 miles, as the crow flies, from most of the transmitters from which we are receiving signal. Florida, being so flat, allows for good reception 98% of the time, but the atmosphere is a fickle mistress. Fog, rain and, on clear starry nights, other T.V. stations can interfere with your enjoyment of the vast wasteland. This can be slightly annoying at times, but it is manageable.
Another thing I wish I had some foreknowledge of, before this excursion, was that signal splitters and VHF/UHF – splitter/combiners will kill certain signals! I learned to only use amplified splitters. And, I realized a stupid splitter/combiner and 2 antennas (one for VHF, one for UHF) was causing more interference than just the UHF antenna alone. And the lone UHF antenna was picking up the VHF NBC channel just fine. Oh, well. (Update: You can also over-amplify signals. Hint to fix: hook up an analog television. If you see ghosting on most the channels and you have more than 2 amplifiers in your chain, try taking one out.)
Few minor notes on the Tivo itself having never owned one before: 1) The interface is great, thought a little slow in response. 2) The menus are MOSTLY intuitive. Except the “Find Programs” -> “Season Pass Manager.” That should be under a sub-category of “Found Programs,” or should be its own menu at the top – it’s certainly important enough. And then there is the “Music , Photos, Products and More” menu. “More?” I’ll take three.
Beyond this minor nitpicking, the Tivo HD is a great terrestrial receiver, beating the crap out of my old Samsung SIR-T151; amazing what 5 years, in what seems to be a pretty static technology (over the air hi-def), can bring in terms of signal reception and tuning. And since the capture of the Hi-Def signal is unprocessed on the Tivo, it always looks great.
And now on to the future…
I was disappointed as heck to find out that TivoToGo (the ability to get your computer and Tivos to play together) was hobbled in the Series 3 Tivos. The EFF article “Who killed ‘TivoToGo’” lays out the reasons. But, thanks to the rumor mill, there is hope: “TTG (TiVoToGo) & MRV (Multi-Room Viewing) To Be Enabled On The Series 3 & TiVo HD In November!” I can’t wait. This looks to be yet another enhancement to the already great device that is the Tivo HD.