At this point, I’m a couple weeks in with my switch to the HD Tivo. My girlfriend and I are extremely pleased with the results. The Tivo just works. It is quick and easy to schedule. It records everything I ask. It’s an amazing difference.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the Tivo has been totally perfect. We record and watch a lot of TV. There have been two cases since we got the box where the HD Tivo has stuttered during playback. I tried to watch a show and it would stutter and stop. I tried the obvious things to get it to reset and they didn’t work. Finally, I rebooted the Tivo and the program played fine. During both of these times the HD Tivo was recording two other shows. Of course, it’s pretty standard for us to be recording two shows and watching a third during any evening and it works fine, so it’s only been these two cases where this occurred. Sounds like a bug, but it’s been infrequent enough that it doesn’t upset me, but I’m hoping Tivo fixes it so I can say the experience has been perfect.
A few other thoughts on the current Tivo setup:
20 hours of HD isn’t enough. Tivo or Fios DVR, I want a larger disk. I’ve heard that the e-sata ports on the Tivo are active, and with a few tricks you can add an external drive. That would be perfect. As soon as I get a chance, I’ll add a 500GB eSATA drive and it’ll be great.
For me, two tuners isn’t enough. I said we watch a lot of TV! Now I’ve got two HD tuners in the living room, and a standard def Phillips Series One Tivo in the bedroom. That’s got us covered. I’ve also got a MythTV box with an HD receiver that I might set up with an off the air HD antenna, just so I can get HD in the bedroom instead of just standard def.
The handling of the different HD modes and aspect ratios is really nice. I’ve selected a fixed mode for the 16:9 TV with gray bars for 4:3 programs. The Tivo also supports zooming the 4:3 content. That way letter boxed programs can fill my 16:9 TV correctly. My Sony XBR does that correctly, so I don’t really need that feature, but if I had the HD Tivo connected to the cheapo HD LCD in the bedroom, it would be great. That set doesn’t handle zoom correctly.
I haven’t really used the internet access features. The games on the box are just filler. The universal swivel search is sort of neat. It’s sort of interesting to track the relationship between various films and actors and such.
If anyone from Amazon or NBC is listening, why the heck do I have to configure one click purchasing in order to watch free programs? I tried to download one of your free premier episodes, until it told me I had to go to Amazon and configure one click purchasing to do it. I understand doing that for the episodes that cost money, but make the free downloads easy! Then if I like it, I’ll configure the one click purchase. Instead I gave up on the process, and I won’t use Amazon Unboxed.
As I mentioned, Verizon doesn’t have multistream cable cards, so they had to put two cable cards in the box. I’m not sure if they’re treating those as separate rentals at $3.00 a piece, or as I heard from someone else, it’s really just an outlet charge, and therefore only billed once. I guess I’ll know when I get the next bill.
Since I have an original Phillips series one Tivo on a lifetime subscription, I’m using the multi-unit discount for my HD Tivo. That saves me $6/month. That’s a nice benefit. It’s a shame you can’t get both the pay-up-front discount with the multi-tivo discount, but that’s OK.
I got rid of two FIOS HD-DVRs and replaced them with one HD-Tivo, and one stand def box. That’s quite a bit of cost savings. The setup in the bedroom is essentially free, because I use my old Tivo which is paid for, and the standard def FIOS TV box which they include if you sign up for a year of service. That’s lower quality, but it’s an OK trade off for the bedroom TV.
I’m very pleased with how I’ve got things setup. I think it’s clearly a better solution than the FIOS HD DVR. It removed a ton of frustration. No regrets at all.