TiVo Review

Well, the TiVo has been in the house for (almost) a month, so I can tell you how great it is. Takes watching TV to a whole new level. Combined with the flat screen that I got Grape for Christmas, the two conspire to force us to watch more television than we probably would have otherwise.

I do have to say though that the initial set-up leaves a LOT to be desired.

TiVo requires a phone line to get all the program listings and other stuff that it has to download in order to work right. Ok, fine, but we have a Vonage phone line that runs through our broadband connection. TiVo’s onboard modem doesn’t play well with anything other than your standard POTS line from the local, overpriced carrier. Several attempts result in failure. Which would be annoying enough, but to add insult to injury, TiVo can work over broadband/LAN — my end goal, so I don’t have to worry about the phone issues — but the software version that’s loaded from the factory doesn’t contain LAN support. So to enable broadband support, you have to establish a login at TiVo.com and request that the LAN upgrade be sent to your machine.

But we haven’t even gotten to that point, I’m still trying to get through the initial set-up without throwing something at the wall. So, off to the online support group to look for suggestions. I get suggestions from both the TiVo forums as well as the Vonage forums since this is apparently a well-documented flaw. Eventually, through trial and error, I stumble across the settings to get the initial set-up done.

YAY!!

Bwah…

Still don’t have the broadband support, so have to keep forcing to dial-in to see if the upgrade is ready to be pushed down. Between the intermittant connection failures and the interminable time to download any sort of upgrade at 9600 bps, it’s another several hours before the software upgrade is downloaded, installed and rebooted.

Ok, off to CompUSA to buy a wireless access point and a USB wireless network adaptor to plug into TiVo.

Got it. Come home and plug in. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Damn, I checked the TiVo website and this f*ing adaptor is on the list, so what’s the problem?!?!? Aw, shit, the firmware revision on the adaptor is not the same as what’s on the list. In fact, this firmware revision of this adaptor specifically has a thumbs down next to it.

Ok, back to CompUSA to return that one and look for another one. Nothing there, so to Best Buy. After a while searching, I find an open-box return that actually has a “TiVo approved” sticker on it. That’s GOTTA work!

And so it did.

Once I got everything set-up, it worked great, but I opened the box on Christmas Eve (Friday) and it was mid-day Monday before I got the whole operation working right.

Actually setting it to record programs is way easier than the VCR, plus it’s like an video on-demand server, pick whatever is on there regardless of when it was recorded.

P.S. Talking about TiVo, two thumbs way down to Fox for the football playoff that ran late. I’m glad I was home to tell TiVo to extend the recording for an additional fifteen minutes in the middle of the recording. Try doing THAT with a VCR! Instead of watching the first hour of 24 as it aired, I was watching The West Wing, although I have to wonder why since that show has gone WAY down since Aaron Sorkin quit doing the writing. I’m starting to think they have every intention of dragging this election plot all the way out to the May sweeps. Maybe I’ll have to get my political drama fix from Commander in Chief instead which I watched for the first time last night.

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2 Responses to TiVo Review

  1. Rude Cactus says:

    TiVo is a wonderful thing. West Wing? Not so much any more. Glad you’re set up and ready to go though!

  2. jenn says:

    I don’t know how I lived before my DVR.

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