February 7, 2004 01:15 AM PST
People love their TiVos. But of course there are problems. Here's an overview of the pain involved with hooking a Series 2 Tivo up to my TV.
The first thing I didn't realize about TiVo, is that even with the Series2 boxes that say "Internet Ready" on them, you have to initially connect with a phone line.
Well I have ethernet right to my TV, and have ordered the compatible USB to Ethernet adapter for TiVo and no phone line within 40 feet. Of course you can't just plug in to activate, you must select items on the screen. So I endup hacking together a 50 foot cable with some old wall jacks and a phone cord used many years ago for modem access. It barely reaches.
Once connected through the phone line, it takes HOURS to get the first schedule (which means hours before you can really do anything with TiVo). After the first update, it processes for a couple more hours. Then you realize that the first update did not get the software update required for Internet use. So then you reconnect and wait for that to come down.
Finally, hours or days later you are ready to play with your Internet enabled TiVo!
When you record your first show
you realize that the 40 hours advertised was a low quality setting. For the quality to look "like normal TV", you really need the high quality setting (or medium at the worst). This gives you between 10 and 20 hours of actual recording time.
The next thing you realize after hacking your TiVo with a bigger hard drive
is that there is no where in the interface where it actually tells you how much space is taken by shows! It shows how many hours at extremely low quality it can hold, but doesn't show a progress bar, pie chart, hex readout, anything to show how much your using. This is so Uber-Mac-like, Steve Jobs must have thought it up.
A few more issues:
- TiVo program guides did not consider the 2 hour "interview special" to be part of last season's Survivor Season Pass! Of course the first hour of this "special" is actually where you find out who won Survivor, and only the last hour is an interview with the partipants. There is not one person who watches Survivor that would not consider finding out who won not part of the season pass. I have TiVo so they can set up the season pass properly and I don't have to be looking at a forum every week for changes and gotchas. TiVo should hire someone to keep on top of this stuff. Inexcusable.
- You can only specify manual recordings with a granularity of 5 minutes.
- Tivo views 1 minute of overlap in shows to be an irreconcilable conflict (this is huge, see my previous post.
- You can fast forward, and jump back by 5 seconds but you can't jump forward by 30 seconds unless you enter the 30 second skip secret code: SELECT-PLAY-SELECT-3-0-SELECT
- TiVo tracks every single button you press on the remote, and what show you were on when you did it. They are going to give access to this information to Nielsen ratings, and they will see just how often commercials are skipped. While they should reward us for providing such valuable information, most likely this will result in some kind of punishment from the networks.