TiVo HD, TV Sound, Asian AVRs

Simple Answer
I've been looking for a device to record television programs from an over-the-air antenna so I don't have to subscribe to cable or satellite for my local stations that I used to record with my VCR. Is there such a device? My VCR still works, but I would prefer something that records HD.

James Rodriquez

The answer is very simple: TiVo HD. This DVR lets you record over-the-air and digital-cable broadcasts in HD. Go to the TiVo website for more info.

You Want to What?
I bought Denon receiver about a month ago. It is connected to a Vizio 55-inch flat panel, an Onkyo CD changer, a Samsung Blu-ray player, a Denon iPod dock, and a Verizon FiOS HD cable receiver. I have two concerns.

First, the Denon clicks and pauses the audio for a second or two. Then it goes back to playing normally. This is a totally random thing. Sometimes it happens after a few minutes, other times the system may be on for two hours before it occurs, but when it occurs, it is very annoying. Can you tell me why this happens? The receiver is not in a rack, it is in a large opening at the bottom of my console cabinet with plenty of ventilation.

Second, the FiOS receiver is connected to the Denon with an HDMI cable, and the Denon and Vizio are connected with another HDMI cable. With this setup, the Denon has to be switched on in order to watch TV. If I want to listen to the TV's speakers, I have to access the Denon's menu to switch off the system sound. Sometimes I would rather just switch on the TV and watch it without turning on the Denon. How can I do this with the setup I have described?

Guy Madison

The clicking/pausing problem sounds like a defect in the Denon receiver. Since you bought it only a month ago, it's still under warranty. The only solution I can think of is to contact Denon to arrange service or replacement.

I don't know why you'd rather listen to the Vizio's onboard sound when watching TV (except for the annoying defect in the receiver). But if you really want to, one way is to connect the FiOS box's HDMI output directly to a different HDMI input on the TV. But in that case, you'll have to switch the TV's inputs when you want to watch FiOS versus watching Blu-ray, and you won't hear any surround sound that might accompany the FiOS program.

Alternatively, you could connect the FiOS box's component-video output and digital-audio output to the TV's corresponding inputs and switch the TV to that input when you want to watch FiOS without firing up the Denon. That would let you keep the HDMI connection between the FiOS box and the receiver for those times when you want to hear better sound while watching TV.

Good Morning, Vietnam
I have moved from the US to Vietnam, and I am getting ready to buy a new A/V receiver. I am looking at the Onkyo TX-SR805 and TX-SR806. I have noticed that the ones for Asia with 220V power have 230 watts per channel, while the US models have 130 watts. Will a US model work here in Asia plugged into a converter? Also, it seems easier to find good deals in the US. Any advice on purchasing in Asia? What is your advice regarding the two models I mentioned?

Joe Millar

I don't see why a US model wouldn't work in Asia with a voltage converter. However, it must be a converter that steps down 220V to 120V, not a simple plug adaptor.

Both Onkyo receivers you mention are fine in terms of sound quality, and they handle HDMI video no problem, but they degrade analog video signals, so if you have mostly analog video sources, I would not recommend them. The Onkyo TX-SR607 is much better in this regard, and it's less expensive to boot.

I'm sorry, I have no advice on buying in Asia. Maybe some of our readers do...

If you have a home-theater question, please send it to scott.wilkinson@sorc.com.

David Celestin's picture

The pausing and clicking might be that the reciever is set to "Auto" for sound, i.e., Dolby Digital, DTS, analog. My reciever clicks sometimes when going from the program material to the commercials becuase the program material is dolby digital and the commercials are analog (or stereo but same difference to me). You might want to check your menu for maybe "Input Mode" or something to that effect.

anon ymous's picture

Scott, tivo defeats the purpose of NOT SUBSCRIBING for local stations, which is essentially what happens when you pay the mandatory monthly fee for tivo's "serivce". James, for the nearly one grand you'll pay in the first year for the tivo hd, subscription, and expansion bay that you'll undoubtedly need, you could just as easily buy an HTPC from ebay and not only record OTA for free, but also have a media server for dvd's, web streaming, music storage, etc.Buying a tivo is like hiring a lawyer, it's always more expensive than you thought, and you get screwed in the end. Don't do it unless you absolutely need to, and there is no other way.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Anon, you certainly have a point—TiVo does charge a monthly subscription fee, though I'm pretty sure it's substantially less than the typical satellite or cable HD package. Also, the TiVo user interface is second to none in my book. Sure, you can roll your own DVR with an HTPC, but TiVo is far easier. As always, you get what you pay for.

David Vaughn's picture

Also, with a TiVo, you can buy a lifetime subscription for around $300 (or at least you used to be able to), and for about $700 have lifetime service.

Rezaul Hasan's picture

Dear Joe,As someone based in Asia, I can tell you that Hong Kong, India and especially Singapore have some great AV outlets. A google search should throw up several results. In many instances, you can get very good deals on AV gear in Asia...I recently bought the Denon AVR 1909 in Asia for much less than its list price on many US outlets. Do keep in mind that most of the gear in Asia will operate at 240V and you would have to buy special equipment to run them back in the US. One small tip while buying in Asia -- bargain hard because most dealers are will to drop prices but need to be nudged.

Scott Wilkinson's picture

Okay, here's the deal with TiVo: The lifetime subscription package was dropped but then reinstated about 6 months ago due to popular demand. A lifetime subscription costs $400, and it covers the lifetime of the unit, not your lifetime. A TiVo HD costs $300, and a TiVo HD XL costs $600. So David is exactly correct that a single payout of $700 gets you a TiVo HD and a lifetime subscription to its service.

Jimmy's picture

Joe: I have lived in Asia (and Europe) in the past & have purchased audio equipment for use in the U.S. Whatever audio equipment you buy in Asia, make sure that there is a switch in the rear that allows you to convert between 240V & 120V. This way, you won't have to but special equipment (or have an electrician install a 220V outlet).

Adam's picture

Forget Tivo. Get DishTV's DTVPal DVR. The simplest solution for an OTA HD DVR.

Darren's picture

G'Day Joe,I just bought an Onkyo TX-NR906 for $1320usd =$1890sg in Singapore. And a Marantz SA-7003 SACD player for $400usd=$570sg. So if your prepared to shop around have no doubt you can find a good deal. I went to Audio House in Singapore but other places can do same deals.(they carry Denon, Marantz, Onkyo, Yamaha, Nad, Cambridge audio) and others. Am sure Hong Kong would be as cheap.Darren