Goodbye DVR hello Tivo HD

Tivo LogoToday is the day that I returned the FIOS DVRs and set up my HD Tivo. The continual problems I’ve had with the DVR and the realization that the cost was almost identical over three years pushed me over the edge. The single biggest issue was that the Fios DVR would flat out fail to record programs.

I would set up a recording, I would see the light going on saying that it was recording, but when you came back to the recording later it said the recording was 0 seconds long. If you tried to play it, you’d get a message saying that the DVR failed to record the program. At one point I caught it while it was failing to record a program. I stopped the recording and tried to manually do the record, but it continued to create a 0 second long recording. The second major problem was that the guide data from Verizon was very inaccurate. I discussed that in a previous post, but the amount of work I had to do to make sure shows were recorded as I wanted or to delete ones I didn’t want was a big hassle.

Beyond that the little things became a big irritation. The remote was awful. It’s huge and complicated. Several of the operations are inconsistent as to which buttons you press. For example some times you have to press the exit button to leave an operation and other times you have to press the stop button. I had one of the DVRs connected to an LCD TV using HDMI. Before the IMG software that worked fine at 1080i, afterward I got a bright green line on the side of the image. If I dropped the resolution to 720p it worked fine. But that also appears to be a problem with the DVR software. Another big annoying issue was that it would jump to a different screen when a recording ended. IE, you come to the end of a program (but not the end of the recording) and start to browse your recorded programs to decide what to watch next. If the recording ends at this moment, the screen would change and you’d be forced to deal with the program that just ended. As I said in a previous post, most of these are annoying glitches.

We had a few hiccups during the install. The first issue is that Verizon doesn’t appear to have multistream cable cards. That means I have to have two cable cards to use my dual tuners. I’m also suspicious that they’re going to bill me for two as well. pissed that they are billing me for two cable cards instead of one. It’s only $3/month each, but if that’s true they really don’t have an incentive to get multistream cards since they make twice as much revenue by having two.

The second problem is that the installation took a really long time. The installer did all the steps he was supposed to, but it didn’t get us a picture. Then he went through his tricks for fixing it and we still had no luck. After a lot of swapping cards and resetting things, he finally decided to try and activate the second card. That went smoothly. Then after a bit more delay the first card came up. He didn’t know why. My only thought was that the first card might have been doing a firmware update, which can take a while, but we didn’t see any indication on the user interface if that was the case.

Of course, our HD Tivo is great. The interface is clean and easy. It works fine. We’ve had it connected to an antenna for the last couple days while we waited for our FIOS appointment and everything worked great. When I first connected it to the network, many of the on-line functions didn’t work. We couldn’t log in to Yahoo for example. The next day all of that was fine and some new items showed up like swivel search. I’m guessing the Tivo did a software upgrade over night. The convergence between the internet and the television on the Tivo is very nice. It’s a shame the netflix agreement didn’t work out. If I could download my 3 DVDs to my Tivo and not use the mail, that would be a really nice solution.

I’m looking forward to a nice smooth working DVR, instead of a lot of frustration.

  1. MA at

    How has the switch been? I have the same FIOS box and have the same problems right now. I am considering a switch to Tivo. I had a DirecTivo box for years prior to this, so I am already familiar with the service. Does it work well with FIOS? Is there anything you miss?


  2. daryll at

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’ve posted another article on how well it is working.