Saturday, March 13, 2010

How Dumb is TIVO?

So the new miniseries "The Pacific" is coming up. "Band of Brothers" was excellent, so I want to watch this one in the initial HBO broadcast rather than some watered-down network version.

I call Comcast, press a few buttons to route my call, and reach a very helpful lady who gives me two options: just HBO for $18/month or HBO and 7,000 other channels for $14. Hmmm... I accept the $14 deal and she flips the switch - the channels are live while I'm on the phone with her. That's an amazing experience (and I never thought anyone could have an amazingly positive experience with comcast).

So then I have to train my Tivo that we have these 7,000 channels. I start the channel updating process, and it asks me what network I get on channel 35. How in the world should I know? (The whole point of Tivo is that is removes me from having to know such mundane things).

Now, it used to be that Tivo would show you the channel underneath the question, so you could get an idea of what you were watching. That feature seems to have been removed.

I boot up my computer and go to comcast to get the channel lineup. Tivo wants to know about two channels, so I get the info and confirm Tivo's suggestions. Then, it does it again (probably because I have a two tuner tivo). Something tells me that there's an optimization to be had here, like maybe asking, "Do you get the same channels on both tuners?"

Once I'm done with both tuners, Tivo needs to download the new program info, which it estimates will take 35 minutes. Here's the rub: your Tivo is unusable during this time. I can understand that you can't use the guide, but you can't even watch live television and you can't watch any saved programs.


Tivo, there are these things called "threads" in software - you can run more than one! Or, you take a line from Apple and make non-modal dialog boxes.

This blog posting is all Tivo's fault. Not only was the experience bad enough to write about, but my computer was off before I had to lookup the channel lineup. If I didn't have to boot up the computer, I probably wouldn't have written this post.


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