Readers Tips- VIDEO – TIVO Campaigns For Free HDTV

June 13, 2009

A reader of the DTV Brief sent a comment with tips about TIVOs New campaign about free HDTV programming. Apparently TIVO is pushing the message about OTA – Over The Air. I have written about it before (check links below) that it is possible to use TIVO as your converterbox to make a seamless migration to DTV. TIVO does the job for you. It converts the signal to analog and your TV-set continues to work as usual. However, if you have more than one set and they are not connected to the TIVO, you need converter boxes for those.

If you are using a TIVO today or thinking about getting one, make sure to get the model do convert signals to analog TV.

Check list of TIVO HDTV models here and to check if your TIVO converts the DTV signals- use the service here.


Enjoy the TIVO campaign on YouTube and find your way to cross the chasm to DTV.


Readers How-To: Cancel Cable and Get Free DTV

June 11, 2009

Here is a word from our reader “Bill”. How he proceeded to cancel cable and get free DTV in a simple and inexpensive way.

My only question is why he has three converterboxes. The only reason I can see is to enable recording of another channel then the one you are watching and if there are more then one TV-set connected to the antenna. And, you want to watch different channels on that one.

Over to Bill.

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1.  My Setup

Radio Shack “starship enterprise antenna”

Insignia DTV converter box

Zenith DTV converter box

2 x Series II Tivo 80 hr

2 x Samsung 32 inch HDTVs (with the digital turner built in)

Fat wallet because I got rid of cable

The Antenna is sitting in my closet and hooked directly into where the cable source used to be in my basement.  So without explaining it all I basically have a digital over the air signal to all rooms in my house using the same old cables. The cables are old and the are being split about 10 times throughout the house.  I’m lucky and live close to a city and have a strong signal for all channels.  That is a BIG factor in having this work successfully.

I purchased the converter boxes using the two coupons provided by the government.  They were purchased at different times.  See the links and you’ll notice that the products are exactly the same.  The only difference is that one says zenith and one insignia.  Each box is identical.  Currently both are for sale at these prices: Insignia at best buy – $60  Zenith at Sears/Kmart – $50.  No sale at Sears or anything, it’s just that much. Not sure what the deal is there but they work the same so go to sears or kmart.

I recommend the zenith converter boxes because they support 4:3 or 16:9 and work very will with the tivo series 2 that I have.  Magnavox converter box did not support anything and sucked really bad.  I had to return the magnavox to kmart because it was the only one.

Anyway,  you’ll need the purple ir cable that came with the tivo in order to set the tivo up with the converter.

The series II tivo works very, very well with the converter box.  Channels are changed using the tivo remote and it works perfectly.

The tivo records in 16:9 for shows broadcast in that format.  It looks fantastic on the hdtvs even though it is a low resolution connection.  With cable I could only record in 4:3 this was a huge bonus that I didn’t think about when first setting this up.  It is almost like having a hdtivo.

Set up the converter box correctly and all shows will display and record in their correct aspect ratio and everything will look great.

I don’t have many channels but I usually watched the local channels anyway.  I record what I want and watch it when I have time.  Other stuff can be seen on the web so I don’t feel as if I’m missing out.

I recommend this setup if you are thinking about it.  Do it.  Cancel cable and get free tv.  Call them now.  Tell them you don’t need their overpriced content anymore.  Unless you have cable internet then only half cancel cable, be nice about it.