TiVo & The Digital Transition


As most of you know, come February 2009 (or sooner) the analog NTSC airwaves go dark. TiVo’s begun reaching out to OTA Series2 (Series1, too?) subscribers via email:

Our records show that you currently receive some or all of your television signals for your TiVo® DVR through good old-fashioned “rabbit ears” or rooftop antenna. That means you WILL be affected by the “Digital Transition” on February 17, 2009—the date television stations are federally mandated to switch from old-style analog to all-digital broadcast signals. To learn how you are affected and what you need to do, follow these simple instructions:

  1. Visit tivo.com/digital2009
  2. Enter your TSN# ########## in the requested field.
  3. We’ll then fill you in on everything you need to know to continue enjoying the world’s best way to watch TV with TiVo!

Jeffrey, who submitted this tip (thanks!), received the following info upon providing his TiVo Service Number:

You’re Impacted. Here’s your Solution… What you need to know…

Starting February 17, 2009, any shows* you receive through your antenna will no longer appear on your TV, leaving your TiVo® Series2 DVR nothing to record. To keep the TiVo service compatible with your current setup, you have two options:

  • Once you receive the automatic TiVo Service Update (9.3.1), purchase and install a government-subsidized digital converter box. This setup will also require infrared wires (details in FAQs).
  • Treat yourself to a gorgeous TiVo HD DVR.

For a limited-time, save $40 on a TiVo HD DVR! Expires September 01, 2008

So, those impacted can pick up an ATSC-tuning TiVo HD for $40 off or purchase a compatible converter box (pictured above) and wait for the properly labeled IR codes and channel mappings in a software update. TiVo’s done the right thing in communicating the situation clearly with this nice microsite, however for those looking to upgrade: Amazon’s still cheaper for a new TiVo HD and $180 for a refurb unit with free shipping is better yet.

(No mention of the DISH Network DTVPal converter… I assume this has less to do with the $100+ million settlement owed TiVo and more to do with the box having just hit the market.)

17 thoughts on “TiVo & The Digital Transition”

  1. That’s all I have, just rabbit ears and the OTA signal. No cable, no satellite, nothing. Since they are going to take that away from me in a couple months, is it recommended that I use an old Tivo box ( with no paid subscription ) as my digital tuner?

    I can get a old TiVo box for free, but I gotta buy the “blessed” tuner at Wally World for like 50 bucks.

  2. Do you want a TiVo, is the question. If you just want to receive digital OTA with a TV that doesn’t have an integrated ATSC tuner, one of the converter boxes by itself will be fine for tuning and, if you’re lucky, basic EPG. How old is that TiVo unit? I think the early ones (S1?) function like a VCR without a subscription, but the more recent models do nothing without paying the monthly service fee.

  3. I’m confused by this “So, those impacted can pick up an ATSC-tuning TiVo HD for $40 off of purchase a compatible converter box”

    Do you mean “or” where it says “of?”

    So they can choose a TiVo HD for $269 or buy a converter for $59?

  4. Yep, typo – a new TiVo HD for $260 or a converter box, which could be as low as $20 if using a government voucher. $180 for a refurb THD is a good deal and what I’d suggest to any of these folks considering an HDTV in the next year.

  5. Dave I am sure the TiVo settlement is one reason that they did not mention of the DISH Network DTVPal converter another may because of firmware bugs.

    There is a growing list of firmware bugs the AVS Forum and others have found.

    Dish Network has even admitted that both the 101 and 100 software have bugs and said it will be weeks before a update but are not sure how it will be distributed.

    Apparently there is confusion at Dish about the DTVPal still as they are not sure if it can receive updates over the air or if everyone will have to send it their DTVPal for the updates.

    I am just worried about who has to pay shipping this time.

    I already know they are over charging people as Ultimate Electronics is selling them for $39.99 before coupon.

    If I knew that they were going to be sold at this price I could have saved over $80 when I ordered four.
    1 for my brother, 1 for me, and 2 for my Aunt

  6. Nothing like multiple devices and their IR issues – I have a DirecTV converter box into an RS-TX20 into a SlingSolo – needless to say it doesn’t always work like it should.

  7. Hi Dave. I just received the same message from Tivo. Did some research and found additional information about which Tivo Series 2 (only certain serial numbers) will work with the digital boxes and found a link for a priority request form to receive the new software update within 3 business days.

  8. @Amy, that priority page is outdated and won’t provide the necessary software upgrade. You need version 9.3.1, which won’t be available until later this summer.

  9. Didn’t realize Tivo’s priority page was outdated – thanks for the heads up! Just took my post offline until the Tivo page is updated.

  10. Okay…now I’m really confused! I have a Series 2 TiVo and Time Warner cable service. I do not have the TW converter box. Do I need to get a converter box or not?

  11. My question is about the same as question #1. But I still am confused. I have a Tivo (S1) and get all my programming OTA with rabbit ears. I understand that I will have to get a digital converter box, but how will I be able to use it with my Tivo unit? Or will I at all? Seeing as the tuner in the Tivo is analog and not digital. How can I set recording programs etc?

  12. Paul, there is no antenna future for Series 1 TiVo units. check TiVo.com for more info. Some Series 2 units with be able to get OTA channels if they use a digital converter box (the whole $40 coupon thing). These units, will have to complete the guided setup for antenna with converter box, which can be tricky. It’s doable, just tricky.

  13. I have a Humax Tivo and Direct TV. I’m having to pay extra every month for Digital. Is there a unit I can buy to aleviate the charge and get digital all the time? I have to go to HDMI1 for Digital but I can’t record in that mode.

  14. Pulled the plug on cable tv a month ago and couldn’t be happier. Built an antenna from old wire coathangers and it works great. No more 80 bucks a month just to watch TV. Found the instructions in a video on Youtube.

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