Friday, October 06, 2006

Golden, Brown and Delicious

So, as it turned out, the TiVo Box cardboard was in fact "golden, brown and delicious." The Series 3 has been unpacked and running for about a week now. HDTV is pretty awesome. The Series 3 is not quite fully operational for three reasons:

1. No Cablecards. Since we are moving to LA in a week, I didn't bother to attempt the hassle of convincing Oakwood to tell Time Warner to install cable cards. The cable cards would enable us to receive digital versions of all our analog channel (Yea...go digital sumlticast!) and encrypted HDTV channels like ESPNHD. Unencrypted QAM channels come in okay, but lack guide data. Hopefully, TiVo will enable channel remapping in the future. I've been using manual recordings of the QAM channels for locals, and OTA reception to compensate.

2. Flaky Over-The-Air(OTA) reception. Fortunately, the OTA channels all have guide data. Unfortunately, I have had some trouble finding an indoor antenna which allows the TiVo to lock in all the local channels at once. There are three major broadcast sites across the San Diego region: One in east county (NBC, CW, PBS), One in La Jolla (ABC, CBS), and one in Mexico (FOX). I've had no luck with Fox because there is a hill in the way. Two transmitter groups in San Diego county have a 90 degree spread between them from our location, and to add trouble to the mix, we have hills all over the place creating tons of multipath. As a result, while the first two antennas from Radio Shack could receive all five channels, the TiVo had trouble maintaining a digital lock. So, I've returned those a picked up a Zenith Silver Sensor. It made a massive difference. I'm now able to get locks on all five channels 95% of the time. Since the antenna is pointed a bit more in the direction of NBC/CW/PBS, I have a little trouble maintaining a constant lock on CBS and ABC.

3. No HD Television. It's not really HD on an SDTV. 'Nuf said.

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