Archive for January, 2008

TivoHD is underwhelming

Friday, January 25th, 2008

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.