TiVo Reaches Out To Users About The 2009 Digital Transition

Zatz Not Funny received a tip from a reader, Jeffery, about emails TiVo is sending out to users who have Series2 (and presumably Series1) TiVo’s configured to use antenna input. Since these users will be left without signals to record come the digital transition in February 2009, there has been some question as to what options they’d have – short of buying a TiVo HD with digital tuners of course. Well, the good news is that with the coming 9.3.1 update, TiVo will be supporting digital-to-analog converter boxes.

Here’s TiVo’s 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!

Jeffery, who is using antenna, submitted his TSN and received this message:

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

When I put in the TSN for one of my S2 boxes, which is not using antenna, I got this message:

Relax, and continue enjoying your favorite shows!

Because you currently DO NOT receive analog signals using an antenna, you don’t need to life a finger! Your TiVo®HD DVR has digital tuners built-in so you do not need to buy a government-subsidized digital converter box or a digital-ready TV. Just enjoy your favorite shows and the TiVo experience like you always have.

Thanks for being a member of the TiVo family!

Which is really weird, because:
a) I entered the TSN of a Series2 – a Pioneer DVR-810H to be precise, and…
b) I don’t even own a TiVo HD. I do have a TiVo Series3, but not a TiVo HD.

I think they just goofed on the messaging and it should probably say something like since my S2 is not using antenna I don’t have to worry. The website has more info, including a list of compatible (and incompatible) converter boxes, and a FAQ.

It is nice to see TiVo reaching out to customers to help educate them. And while many expected TiVo to support the converter boxes, it is nice to see an official confirmation. There were some with a bent toward conspiracy who expected TiVo to use the transition as a way to force users onto the TiVo HD, this should lay such talk to rest. Though it is a good excuse to upgrade, especially with the $179.99 factory-renewed deal. I doubt that $40 discount applies to those units, that’d be too good to be true – but if anyone finds out otherwise, please report back!

So Series2 users who depend on antenna have two options – pick up one of the compatible converter boxes, or upgraded to the TiVo HD.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • http://www.zatznotfunny.com Dave Zatz

    I also put in two separate S2 models and received the same (wrong) message. I also emailed TiVo and let them know about their “life” typo. ;)

  • http://www.zatznotfunny.com Dave Zatz

    PS Was that S2 unsubscribed? Mine were… wonder if the default response to an unsubbed unit is what we got.

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone

    Nope, active unit with lifetime.

  • Ivan Y

    The current S2DT unit I have produced the same weird text (you didn’t paste the part about S2 units not being equipped for antenna recordings). My deactivated S2 unit got an error message (something about not being eligible).

  • http://lundberry.com jonathan

    For Ivan Y the S2DT will not work with a dtv converter no matter what because Tivo chose not to put in the stuff for an antenna then due to it being a requirement that they put in an atsc tuner if they put in one then. So as far as I understand it the S2DT will never officially support having a converter attached to it using the ir blasters like you would with other S2′s and S1′s

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone

    I didn’t paste that part because I didn’t get it. You entered an S2DT, the S2DT does *not* do antenna. I entered an S2, the S2 *does* do antenna. (Except for one model, the 542, which is what they renumbered refurbished 540s as after the FCC cut-off. The 542 had antenna support removed.)

  • BlueRidgePro

    I got the same email. I run three S2′s with both Dish Networks (using the IR connection)and over-the-air.

    I’m waiting to see how they will support me. With only 1 IR port, I can’t see how it will work to control the converter box.

    I’ll bet that I’m screwed when analog over-the-air goes away.

  • Matt Sledge

    It’s great that TiVo is taking action on the digital transition… it’s not great that I bought the one converter that TiVo isn’t supporting two months ago.

    Looks like I need to get another government coupon. Harumph.

  • http://www.gizmolovers.com/ MegaZone

    Ouch, that’s rotten luck.

    I noticed the Dish Network DTVPal isn’t on either list. I wonder if that has to do with the legal tension between TiVo and EchoStar, or if they just haven’t had time to test it since it just started shipping a week or so ago.

  • Matt Sledge

    Rotten luck? Heck, it’s right up my alley.

    Here’s hoping that since it is one of the better known converters (at least in my area), it will be supported by the time the TiVo update rolls out… but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Matt Sledge

    I JUST got the 9.3.1 update, and set-up was a breeze as usual.

    Oh – and this is interesting – even though TiVo says that the Digital Stream boxes are NOT supported, my Digital Stream DTX9000 was listed as a model to choose from in the list during set-up, and it works like a dream… for now.