Technically Geeking: TiVo Premiere (or not?) Mar17

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Technically Geeking: TiVo Premiere (or not?)

dvr_premiere_wremote_605x200a blogumn by Justin Time

Hi. My name is Justin. And I’m a Tivoholic.

I’ve been using TiVo since 2004. So I’m not the earliest of adopters, but still we go way back. And I love TiVo. I had a Series 2, then when we went HD, I got the Series 3 when the prices finally came down from outer space. Still, I overpaid and the extra cost of service was hard to stomach. But it was so much fun to use, easy to program, and the software was so intelligently designed from the beginning. And I had tried the cable company DVR. It was awful.

So when my first Series 3 box broke down (hard drive failure), I was quick to replace it. I was out of warranty, so I had to pay some fee, but hey, it’s TiVo, whatchagonnado?

Then when the next box suffered the same fate 3 months later, I was annoyed, and argued with customer service until they gave me a replacement box for free.

Then when the next box again broke down, I thought there may be something wrong with my environment. Being in an old house, I suspected the wiring was frying the hard drive. So I got them to give me another free replacement, and this time I bought a respectable surge protector to prevent the same thing from happening again.

Well, the same thing did not happen again, but nonetheless, the TiVo failed me yet again. This time it was the cable card decoding, which basically means we got basic cable but none of the higher channels, like ESPN, Comedy Central, or Cartoon Network. The latter two I could live without, but it’s March Madness baby – I need my ESPN.

After about 12 man-hours over the course of three visits from cable technicians and their supervisors, no solution was to be found, so we all gave up and hooked up the latest DVR from the cable company which worked fine. TiVo refused to replace my box for free again, and at this point, I was fed up anyway. I am living with the cable DVR, and it has its annoyances, but hey… it works!

Still, it hasn’t been easy to stay on the wagon. Once you have tasted TiVo, you always want TiVo, and you constantly see flaws in the cable DVR, like:

• I start watching a basketball game about 40 minutes after it starts, and I skip ahead during commercials, but suddenly it jumps to the live playback point, and I see the score as it will be 20 minutes from where I am currently watching. Not cool.

• I tell it to record The Soup, but only new episodes, and only keep 1. Instead, it records all repeats, and keeps them all. There are a lot of repeats of The Soup each week in case you didn’t know.

• It is hard to get the player to stop correctly at the end of a commercial break. I always have to back up a little bit, which TiVo used to do for me.

• It actually costs more than TiVo now. Sure, you get the box for free, but you pay $14/month for the cable DVR vs. $10/month for TiVo if you get an extended or lifetime contract.

So I again considered paying the replacement fee to TiVo again, even though it made me feel like a spineless slave to high-end gadget companies. Then I noticed that they have a new box coming out in just a few weeks – the TiVo Premiere …and they have an upgrade offer (25% off) for existing customers …and the box is slimmer and sexier and it runs a new UI built on Flash …and it uses one of the new multi-stream cable cards instead of two of the old single-stream cards (which were giving me the problems) …and they would transfer my existing contract to the new box. So I pre-ordered one! I only wish it would be here in time for the tourney, but alas, it isn’t due out until early April.

The critics have said they haven’t really done much to stay in the game at this point, but I am giving it one more try. I miss my TiVo. It saves me time. It fast forwards elegantly and it is highly customizable, which any true geek requires. If TiVo fails me again, I promise it will be the end of our star crossed affair forever. I’ve been more than patient.

But let’s face it. TiVo is the Apple of DVRs. You pay a little more, you feel powerless, and there are few choices, but you like it. you really like it.