(This page last updated 5/28/2016)
Meridian Manor has good over-the-air reception to receive many channels, without paying for cable.
The below article describes our experience using a TIVO-brand recorder, but you can use any brand of digital TV recorder. Consumer Reports magazine discusses several brands of recorders.
Continued from June-July 2016 Meridian Manor newsletter, Page 6 .
- Paragraphs 1 thru 6 are copied from the NEWSLETTER article.
- Skip down below to Section 7 to view ADDITIONAL information that would not fit in the newsletter. Skip down to Section 9 for details about how we got it on sale.
- Why This Article:
This article is my opinion only, and I am NOT getting paid to write it. The purpose is to hopefully SAVE YOU MONEY. Recently we replaced our satellite TV service with a TiVo “Roamio OTA” (Over The Air) model DVR with “Product Lifetime Service” — the photo shows resident Rita Stine pointing to it. This reduced our television bill from $50/month to ZERO.
- How The TiVo Operates:
The TiVo is arguably the most-esteemed DVR (digital video recorder) on the market, produced since 1999. It operates similar to a Direct-TV ‘Genie’ or a Dish-TV ‘Hopper’ — where you program it in advance to record programs (one-time or every-episode) whenever they air — and then play them back at your convenience, and fast-forward through COMMERCIALS.
he “OTA” means “Over The Air”, The OTA model receives the PROGRAMS “over-the-air” via a rooftop ANTENNA. (I.e. it won’t work on cable.)
<> FYI: You can also get cable-model TiVo’s, but this defeats the purpose of avoiding cable bills — and is unnecessary, since there are numerous “over-the-air” stations near Meridian Manor.
- Product Lifetime Service:
This means you pay a one-time charge to purchase the unit, and then you need pay NO monthly subscription fee for the lifetime of your unit. This “TiVo Service” is necessary to receive the “Program Guide”, i.e. the SCHEDULE of programs. The TiVo will not operate without the guide.
** Internet Needed: You do need an internet connection, because the TiVo gets its “Program Guide” over the internet -– either wirelessly, or you can plug it into your router with an ethernet cable.
- The COST:
The TiVo “Roamio OTA” is currently available with the “Product Lifetime Service” on Amazon or Best Buy for $399 for the 1 TB model. (We got ours for $300 on sale; use the below link for details.)
You can “do the MATH”; divide the $399 purchase price by your monthly satellite or cable TV bill to estimate “break even” time.
- Other TiVo Models:
FYI: The “latest and greatest” TIVO model is the new “Bolt” with “4K” capability, but I think the cost with “Product Lifetime Service” is about $600. The “Roamio” which we have, is the previous model before the Bolt, and is perfectly adequate for our needs.
<> Also, be aware that you can buy cheaper TiVo Roamio units as low as $49 with a $15 MONTHLY service plan — but these will cost more in the long run.
- SkipMode: TiVo is now advertising it’s new “SkipMode” feature. They claim it allows you to automatically skip over COMMERCIALS on some major programs, with a single button push.
- Netflix Capable: FYI: The TiVo is also capable of wirelessly streaming optional paid movie services such as Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu over the internet — just like a laptop, Roku, or Apple TV does.
- Information Flow: Let’s recap the TiVo’s “information flow”, since the concept is a bit unusual — see above Fig 1.
- 1. The actual PROGRAM is received over-the-air via an antenna .
- 2. The “Program GUIDE” is received over the internet.
- If you use it for Netflix or similar optional paid services, all that information also comes over the internet.
8. Useful Websites:
- You can search Youtube.com for the phrases similar to “TiVo Roamio OTA” to find many videos discussing this device.
- “TiVO – The Best Streaming Device for Cord Cutters” by ‘HD Geek Review’. This particular Youtube video gives a good, concise overview of the TiVo Roamio — the video is shown following below:
- Amazon: The Amazon.com listing for ‘TiVo Roamio OTA DVR and Streaming Media Player with Product Lifetime Service‘ contains about 1300 customer reviews that you can browse. You can also order one from this same page.
- update 7/23/2020: newer Amazon link here
- Make sure you select the 1 TB model. Amazon was also listing a smaller-capacity 500 GB model, which they strangely listed at a higher price.
- You can also purchase this unit from Best Buy, directly from TiVo, and probably many other places.
- Best Buy: The same item on BestBuy’s website.
- Google: For more opinions, you can also do a Google search for phrases similar to “Compare TiVo to Channel Master” or to “Compare TiVo to Apple TV” to read owners’ comments. We did this before purchasing our unit.
- Wikipedia: View the TiVo Wikipedia page to learn about the history of TiVo.
- TiVo: The TiVo Roamio OTA webpage is the manufacture’s page for this unit.
- User’s Forum: There’s also the TiVo Community Forum — which contains about 7,366,421 posts and about 285,659 members discussing TiVo.
9. DealMac.com Sale Notifications:
- You can set up an “TiVo email alert” on DealMac.com site, and they will notify you if the TiVo and similar units go on sale from Amazon or other vendors.
- We used this feature to get notified when Amazon put them on sale for $300 back in February; but I have not seen the $300 price since then, and do not know if it will be repeated.
- The TiVo Roamio OTA gets the program “over-the-air”, so you need a good rooftop antenna to receive a clear signal.
- We had our antenna installed by Bob Kraft, who is an electrician living here in Meridian Manor.
- Bob helped us select a “Clearstream 2V Antenna” from our local Best Buy on Signal Butte, but any GOOD antenna should work. (This Amazon link contains some reviews of the “Clearstream 2V Antenna”.
11. Optional Remote with Keyboard:
- The Tivo includes a remote, but we also bought the optional “TiVo C00260 Roamio Slide Pro DVR Remote” which includes a “Full QWERTY-format slide-out keyboard” for about $45.
- This keyboard makes the process of searching for something a lot less tedious.
12. Using TiVo With Additional TV Sets:
- For using additional TV sets with your TiVo, there is something called a “MoCA Ethernet to Coax Adapter for TIVO” that allows you to use your TiVo with a second TV that is located in another room.
- You can do this as a one-time purchase with no monthly fee. Resident Darlene Morgan has one of these for her TiVo. (We use our TiVo with just one TV set, so we’re not familiar with these.)