TiVo

All posts tagged TiVo

XAV101 Powerline adapter in our office.

As mentioned in a previous post, I use Powerline adapters to connect networked devices (Roku, Blu-ray player, etc.) to the router/modem in our office.

Powerline uses your house wiring to send data packets between devices.

But electrical noise in our theater room’s AC circuits sometimes affects Powerline’s ability to handle the higher bandwidth needed for video.

In particular, an outdoor pond pump on the other side of the theater room wall recently became a major bandwidth killer.

Embarrassingly, a solution to this problem was right under my nose at the time I wrote that post.


XAV2001 Powerline adapter in our den. Different models and brands are able to work together.

I had just set up a new TiVo Roamio OTA in the den (Cutting the TV cable with TiVo Roamio OTA).

I plugged it into a Powerline adapter in the den to be able to get internet from the office via the adapter already there.

The TiVo Roamio requires an internet connection to periodically download program guide data; Powerline is more than adequate for this purpose; wifi can also be used.

Powerline bandwidth has always been fine in the den, being distanced from the electrical pump noise. Evidently, the den<—>office path taken by Powerline through the house wiring is much cleaner.

Months later, I bought a TiVo Mini extender for the kitchen. It needed to be connected to the main TiVo by Ethernet cable.

I plugged one end of a long Ethernet cable into it. The other end was then plugged into a new gigabit switch in the den, as was the mothership TiVo and the Powerline adapter, both via short cables.

A wired Ethernet (or alternatively, MoCA) connection is needed to stream high volumes of broadcast MPEG-2 video data from the TiVo Roamio to a TiVo Mini. It didn’t work quite as consistently with Powerline (nominally equivalent to Ethernet), as I discovered by experiment.

A month after that, I added a TiVo Mini to the theater room, plugging into it another long Ethernet cable that ran back to the den gigabit switch, connecting it with the main TiVo.

Thanks to our house’s layout, both these cables were able to hug the walls without crossing any walkways.

(Any cable coming out of our office would cross walkways and be very lengthy, thus my original need for Powerline.)


Recently, the pump noise bandwidth hit had gotten worse, and I was talking about it with my friend Tim. While doing so, I suddenly realized that my little problem could easily be solved:

Instead of having the long cable from the den plugged directly into the theater Mini, I plugged it into the theater room’s own gigabit switch, along with the Mini and every other network device in there.

That made the higher quality den Ethernet connection available to all devices in the theater room!

Why didn’t I think of it before? Probably I had fixated on making the theater room Powerline connection work before this fortuitous and circuitous bypass opportunity arose. 🙂

This move also cleared up buffering problems with streaming video served from Plex and Emby on the office PC to the theater room.

I now need only two Powerline adapters, one in the office, and one in the den.


Moral of my story? I should pull my head out occasionally, or talk it over with someone knowledgeable for a fresh perspective.

During the cord-cutting Q&A last week, the Tablo DVR device was mentioned.

Having gone with TiVo, I can’t speak from personal experience about it.

But it sounds like it could be a viable solution for OTA DVRing.

I made this comment about it:

“Yet another TiVo alternative, with 4 tuners! There is a $5 monthly charge for program guide data, but it is optional. Good low-cost choice if streaming content to other devices is important to you.”

The first and longest comment about it in the TTM Amazon aStore is a good and practical review of the product, and it was updated over a period of three years. The other two comments are useful, too:

Tablo 4-Tuner Digital Video Recorder for Over-The-Air HDTV with Wi-Fi for Live TV Streaming

Raspberry Pi TV Time Machine

I just saw this cool little TV Time Machine project for the Raspberry Pi:

“For the innards, Wellington used a cannibalised thrift store Dell monitor, hooking it up to a Raspberry Pi 2 and some second-hand speakers. After the addition of Adafruit’s video looper code to loop free content downloaded from the Internet Archive, plus some 3D-printed channel and volume knobs, the TV Time Machine was complete.”

However, we already have a TV Time Machine that can play anything available on our TiVo Roamio OTA (over-the-air):

Broadcast television today is a retro paradise: MeTV, Antenna TV, GRIT, Comet, Heroes & Icons, GetTV, COZI, etc.

The TiVo also can provide DVR recordings, any show we have on Plex, anything on Netflix or Amazon.

Our TV Time Machine in action:

We run the HDMI output of our TiVo to our big TV in the den.

But a composite output is available as well.

I connected an X10 video sender unit to this output with an RCA cable (red, white, and yellow plugs).

Whatever is playing on TiVo in the den is transmitted via the sender to the video receiver unit in the guest room, which is attached to the 1983 TV set by a standard TV coax cable.

The den TV doesn’t need to be on.

[Above left: video sender unit in den; above right: video receiver unit in the guest room. The little curved rod is an IR extender, not needed here. It can be folded down.]

Control the den TiVo remotely from the guest room with the free TiVo phone app:

I try to keep the sender off when not in use because it jams part of the crowded 2.4 GHz band used by older wifi routers; see previous post Conflict between Wifi, X10 video sender.

The X10 receiver can be on all the time. The old TV is always set on channel 3.

(Video sender/receiver pair in the TTM aStore)

Since these devices are analog, the picture looks especially good on an old analog TV.

Next up: “Police Squad!”… IN COLOR

We have all 6 “Police Squad!” and all 49 “The Outer Limits” episodes on Plex.

TiVo Roamio OTA

TiVo Roamio OTA

Big news from Engadget about the new model of the TiVo Roamio OTA:

TiVo’s cord-cutting DVR gets more storage and drops subscriptions

The original model OTA was our cord-cutting choice for broadcast TV/DVR due to its user(wife)-friendliness.

The new one has 1TB of storage, double the original.

But now, there is no $15/month subscription fee. You pay $400 upfront and one time. Considering the cost of the device to be $49 as before, you break even with the original OTA pricing after less than two years! Pure savings from then on.

This makes it a near no-brainer, as other cord-cutting options (Channel Master DVR+, Tablo, Windows Media Center) are nowhere close in ease and slickness of user interface, expandability (using TiVo Minis), and free apps (especially Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and PLEX).

And, as with its predecesssors (the original OTA and the newer BOLT), it allows commercial skipping on some shows, and 30% faster speed-watching.

The article notes that the new OTA will be available on May 2 through Amazon, Best Buy or TiVo.

If our original Roamio OTA ever blows up or is hit by lightning, this is what I’m getting.

If you have been thinking about cutting the cable cord, a new OTA and a simple, cheap antenna (like a refurbished Mohu Leaf) may be all you need.


Two items might well be all you need to cut the cable TV cord.

It can be very easy, and a great gift for your family to not be paying a high cable bill every month.

First, I recommend the new TiVo BOLT (as of 2016, I recommend the new Roamio with one-time pricing, above. It has all the features of the BOLT I describe below.). It supercedes the TiVo Roamio series, includes all its features, and has a couple of new ones of its own. The above price includes the remote and a year subscription to the TiVo service ($150/year thereafter).

Depending on the antenna you use, the BOLT can give you most or all of your local channels and subchannels, with current and future program listings shown in a convenient grid display. (An internet connection is needed to download and update the listings.) It also is a full-featured, easy-to-use DVR, easily as good as the cable or satellite company’s.

In addition, it has useful apps including Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, VUDU, YouTube, Pandora, Plex, and iHeart Radio. You might not even need a Roku, Chromecast, Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV Stick to view your subscription and other content!

If you want access to all this in other rooms, add TiVo Minis. They are an easy way to get more out of your TiVo at a one-time-only cost. Each comes with its own remote. You can also use the free TiVo smartphone app to control a BOLT or Mini, and to easily set up recordings.

Read more in previous posts New product: the TiVo BOLT and Cord-cutting: What DID work for us.

Second, you will need an antenna. The Mohu Leaf Paper-Thin Indoor HDTV Antenna (Refurbished) might well be all you need. Try it. If you decide to upgrade to a powered and/or an outdoor antenna, you can still use this one with another TV.

Read more about antennas in these previous posts: Placing an indoor TV antenna, High winds can affect TV reception and Mohu Sky 60 antenna review.


In addition, if you are ready to replace your landline or cable phone service (and don’t want to rely entirely on your cell phone), the Ooma Telo internet phone can make it happen. See previous posts Ooma internet phone moves from office to Tiki room and Cord-cutting: Hold the phone!

After losing the cable/satellite box, you may need a new clock for the set-top. The one at the top of this post does the job quite nicely for us.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, with no cords attached!