TiVo Critique

It’s been less than a month since I received my Series 3 TiVo on 19 March 2010.

Overall, I absolutely love it. It spanks my Verizon FiOS on numerous usability points and even picture quality. Here are some ways it falls short:

  1. It only pauses for 30 minutes. At 30 minutes, it unpauses (plays) and I can’t rewind.
  2. From a similar source with with a different symptom: If I’m watching a live TV show more than 30 minutes before I push <Record>, it doesn’t record the whole show so far — it only records the last 30 minutes. Big suck here. Verizon FiOS HD DVR spanked TiVo on this point.
  3. After unpausing, I’d like the position indicator at the bottom of the screen to go away faster.
  4. Ads. Ads!? Actual ads from TiVo, separate from TV commercials. Sorry, I didn’t expect this when I signed up for the $13/month TiVo service, which for me is basically just overpaying for an over-the-wire TV guide.
  5. If you go into the TiVo menus via the TiVo button, the TV you’re watching doesn’t show up in a little window like it does on the Verizon FiOS DVR. It’d be very nice if it did. Some people might find this distracting/noisy/annoying so it should be a preference.
  6. Remote control/Interface: I’d like it to be easier to jump between the shows currently being recorded. It might be that the <Live TV> button is doing this. Gotta test it.
  7. No way to type alphabetic characters directly with the remote control.
  8. Allow WishList searches containing not-equal.
  9. Allow me to say title = String1 OR actor = String2 (Both strings are usually the same guy but that’s not relevant.)
  10. Allow me to say title = string1 AND actor != string2
  11. WishList searches: Allow me to say, e.g., “Keyword = String1” and language = English (to avoid recording Spanish language versions of programs).
  12. No way to know how much disk space is currently used. This is just annoying and sort of insulting.
  13. It’s not that clear to me where to go to edit a non-WishList predefined recording, such as a Record by Title definition. Yesterday when I went to do this, I wound up doing it from the To Do List. Is that the only way to edit a non-WishList search that presently has no programs recorded through which you can edit it? Hassle.
  14. I’d like to be able to delete all recordings under a category (but keep recording in the future). For example, if my predefined job to record The Office gets too full and I just want to get rid of the 25 episodes with one action and start fresh, I apparently have to delete 25 recordings manually. I want to mention here that deleting a recorded program on the TiVo is so much more comfortable than on my Verizon FiOS because I don’t have to confirm every delete on the TiVo. That was a good user interface decision. Update: Maybe the <Clear> button will handle this.