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Monday, June 09, 2008 in Technical Articles (Views: 2851)
Tivo seems to be pretty popular, and for a single TV setup, it can be somewhat useful. If you have more than one Tivo, I would personally look for another solution...

Here are some reasons why I like but mostly dislike Tivo...

1. The service levels aren't consistent.

When I first signed up a couple of years ago, they had a "lifetime" service, and a "monthly" service. When I purchased my second Tivo literally a couple of months later, the lifetime service was gone. This, to me, was not a good idea for Tivo.

Can I defend Tivo on this point? Actually, yes. Lifetime service did seem expensive, but how many people have had the same VCR for over 10 years? As a matter of fact, I can think of a couple of those items still floating around the house (although they are now mostly used to burn to DVD's)... There are some people though who wouldn't change - and 1 payment of $299, versus monthly payments of $12.99 would lose Tivo a lot of money over the course of 10 years (even 5).

2. It keeps getting more and more expensive for service

The new series 3 does offer lifetime membership, and I would be interested to see what the price will jump to next. It was $150, then $199, then $299 (where I jumped in), now $399. So, we're expected to spend $399 for a glorified TV Guide? Sure, I know Tivo does other things such as Tivo to Go, but we'll get there in a minute.

...and 2b. Tivo loves to spam you to tell you about new deals, not new technology

Just my opinion, but it seems Tivo is more about marketing than moving technology. One such example is the addition of advertising to the menus.

3. Hardware isn't easily moved

If you like to tinker, be careful. We were doing to dismember one of our Tivo's and have spare parts around the house. When I moved the hard drive from one Tivo to another, the software checked and (my guess here) detected the serial number of the system was different from the system it was being run on.

Of course, you can remove everything from the Tivo (the delete and clear everything feature) to fix this problem.

4. Hardware is easily upgraded

If you know something about Linux and actually are both fearless and actually capable of making a technical move, upgrading the Tivo hard drive isn't too bad. It is a little time consuming, but worth it, if you want to take 40GB of space and convert it to 400GB. Hacking the Tivo is a little more difficult, but not bad.

5. Updates are pretty disappointing

For the most part, updates don't really add any features that (from a programmer's perspective) seem to take much effort. It almost seemed like they have a person who changes a line of code here and there and calls it a feature.

Honestly, there has to be a better way to deliver TV guide and services to a VCR which isn't so expensive. Perhaps someone can comment and shed some light on Windows Media Center PC's, or other things out there...


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