by havoc

I shouldn’t say Tivo sucks; I admit I’m doing something obscure and
geeky with the file share of music. But, while I’m complaining about
home electronics, I do have a basic Tivo complaint: they need to be
the cable box.

In Raleigh, we had a PVR that was built in to the cable box. Compared
to Tivo, it was buggy and the UI was atrocious. However, it had
several vital advantages over our current cable-box-plus-Tivo setup:

  • No lag due to Tivo-acts-as-remote-control-for-cable-box
  • The program guide was more accurate, so shows didn’t get clipped
    at the end
  • It had multiple tuners, so you could watch a show while recording
  • It would avoid problems such as changing the channel while recording,
    or leaving the cable box on mute
  • One less remote control
  • You can’t use “On Demand”, Pay Per View, and other cable features
    from Tivo

No question that the cable companies are deliberately squeezing out
Tivo, and it’s pretty sad that Tivo created this category of device
and probably isn’t going to benefit from it in the long term. I don’t
know how Tivo can get around the situation though: a combined cable
box plus PVR is a dramatically better user experience, even if
the cable box PVR is pretty lame compared to Tivo’s.

I guess you can get Tivo integrated with a satellite box, one reason I
wanted satellite instead of cable. Sadly we have too many trees.

This is incidentally another reason I haven’t tried MythTV; I’m hoping
to get a PVR from the cable company. I’m even feeling a bit friendly
toward Comcast, since they just wholesale rewrote the UI
on the cable box and the new one seems optimized for, say, watching TV
(rather than whatever the old one was supposed to be for).

(This post was originally found at http://log.ometer.com/2004-11.html#15)

My Twitter account is @havocp.
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