TivoHD is underwhelming

I just got a Tivo HD to complement my HDTV. These things immediately popped out at me:

  1. No DLNA support. I keep my iTunes library on a Buffalo TeraStation which provides a DLNA server to stream music. I was really surprised to find that the Tivo could not find this music (iTunes does — both as my library and as a shared stream). It’s hard to understand not having a DLNA client in the Tivo, especially since the TiVo desktop is so lame — not grabbing any of my album covers to show on the TV.
  2. Audio output. My HDTV is connected via HDMI, and I connected the TiVo analog audio to my stereo Aux Input. I have to mute the TV, which is OK, but it would be nice to have a setting to choose where the music is played. It would also be nice to be able to use the TiVo remote to mute the music out of the TiVo, not just the sound out of the TV.
  3. The on-screen interface is confusing/limited/incomplete. It looks like it is only listing a maximum of about 10 albums, whether sorted by Album or Artist. I had been curious how I was going to navigate through my 4000+ tunes; I guess I won’t have to, since the TiVo doesn’t let me see but a tiny fraction of my music collection.

Then there are all the generic interface problems, I’ve run across:

  1. No circular scrolling — you can’t get back to the top by continuing to press the down arrow. This is particularly galling, since it looks like TiVo product management has contracted feature-itis and is adding more and more useless items to scroll through.
  2. The program offerings don’t seem to pay attention to my actual situation (broadcast only), and offer suggestions for cable programs.
  3. There doesn’t seem to be a way to remove the unwanted offerings from the menus (Rhapsody, etc.).

And to top it off, I now can’t go back to watching live TV from the TiVo — I just get a gray screen. I needed to reboot the Tivo to go from music to watching TV. Not an auspicious beginning — more like version 0.91 than 9.1!

Everybody I know has raved about TiVo, but I sure haven’t seen the magic. I just wish the AppleTV had TV receivers.

5 Responses to “TivoHD is underwhelming”

  1. bill says:

    My wife loves the new TV, but as for Tivo: “It’s gruesome.”

    The litany of interface inconsistencies is just too long, but while watching a program tonight, she accidentally leaned on the remote and changed the channel. We were recording but we had no luck going through the menus to resume playback. So we just switched to live TV and skipped about 10 minutes in the middle — immensely frustrating. Eventually, I figured that we could just fast-forward the recording from the beginning, but the end result is TiVo must go. Fortunately there’s a 30 day money-back guarantee.

    TiVo — good idea; bad execution.

  2. bill says:

    And the Tivo software seems to be unaware that it is running on an HD, as it repeatedly records programs from an analog NTSC channel instead of grabbing the same program from a digital ATSC channel.

    In my wish list, it recorded Masterpiece theater on Sunday in analog from channel 9 instead of HD channel 9-1. In the TiVo suggestions, it records Seinfeld from analog channels 2 and 36 instead of digital channels 2-1 and 36-1.

  3. bill says:

    Very disappointing ATSC tuner in the Tivo. Channel 44 digital here in the Bay Area comes in crystal clear on my HDTV, but not at all on the Tivo.

    I know Tivo hasn’t found a viable business model, with the cable/satellite services providing their own branded DVRs. It’s beyond my ken that they would skimpon the tuner, and cut themselves off from the broadcast consumer.

  4. bill says:

    And the tuner is crap. I was just scrolling through channels on the TiVo. Channel 68 digital was horribly pixellated, and TiVo couldn’t get 68 analog at all. I changed to the HDTV tuner, and both were fine, though the analog was admittedly full of snow.

  5. bill says:

    It’s remarkable to me how poorly TiVo is meeting my expectations. Instead of the “unexpected delight” that one hopes for, I continue to find bugs, poor implementation, cumbersome user interface and perplexing inconsistencies.

    The latest is my attempt to have TiVo automatically record the Jane Austen series on Masterpiece Theatre. I programmed it to search and record ‘Jane Austen’, and it has only found a Masterpiece Theatre on Feb 3, neglecting tomorrow night’s program!

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