Posts Tagged ‘TV’

Tivo’s decline

Posted: March 30, 2020 in COVID-19, General, TIVO
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Being stuck home right now and watching a lot of TV I am now noticing the limitations of my new TIVO Bolt OTA.

I’ve owned Tivo’s since they came out in 1999, in fact I still have my Series1 Tivo with lifetime service that I used with cable TV, I don’t use it anymore but I have it.  I bought four DirecTV Series2 Tivo’s and used them for many many years.  I finally dropped my DirecTV subscription and went strictly over the air (OTA) with two Series5 Roamio’s one with lifetime subscription and one monthly (I’m still using the one with the lifetime subscription).  I tried the Series6 Bolt when it first came out and it was an unmitigated disaster, it never worked quite correctly with my 4K TV.  Tivo gave excuses but it would periodically flash a red bar on the screen, after months of frustration with Tivo I gave up and put the old Series5 back up and took the Series6 off-line.  Roll forward a few years and I saw Tivo had a refurbished OTA Series6 Bolt for sale with lifetime service.  It came with a 30 day return policy so I bought it and retired the monthly Series5 OTA Tivo.  I figured that after so many years they must have it fixed by now.

So now I’ve had both a Tivo Roamio and a Tivo Bolt running for 3 months now, and I have to say, as much as I like the 4K screen quality the rest of Bolt is terrible.  Tivo removed some of the great features that the Series1 –  Series5 had for what its worth, here is what I think of them:

My first irritation with the referb Series6 Tivo is the lack of Thumbs up and down buttons saving your likes and dislikes for Tivo’s suggestions.  The old Tivo’s had a working thumbs up and down button and if you used them to suggest what you liked and disliked, Tivo made some great suggestions of other shows you might not have heard of and recorded them as space allowed.  Tivo has removed the feature, all of a sudden I find the free space on my Tivo collecting soap opera’s and other crap.  I start looking into why and realize that I can’t use the Thumbs up and down any longer to indicate what I like and don’t like.  I’m getting stuff that Tivo is getting paid to put on my Tivo.  So after  many years of use I’ve turned off Tivo Suggestions.  Great feature lost.  Not a good idea Tivo, not at all.

My second irritation: time, clock time, my Series1 and Series2 Tivo’s recorded programs exactly on time, they got their time from Tivo and it was dead on.  Since then all of my Tivo’s are about 1 minute off, they start 1 minute early and end one minute early, missing the end of some TV shows and the nightly news programs.  Granted in some cases that just cuts off commercials but not always and while you can tell the Tivo to extend the recording an extra minute long but then that slams into back to back recordings.  Just ugly.  You can’t tell the Tivo to shift everything 1 minute, nope there is no setting for that, nor can you set the time of the Tivo, so you have to get used to a 1 minute offset.  Not a good idea Tivo, not at all.

Another reason I liked Tivo was the ability to skip commercials.  I was able to fast forward through them on my recorded shows which was great, later models allowed me to hit a button and skip over the commercials in the more popular shows after Tivo had time to map them.  Great feature, too bad most of the shows I watch were not popular enough to get mapped.  And now with the Edge you can turn on auto skip, again only for the mapped TV shows but a nice feature.  However on this Bolt Tivo is now injecting its OWN commercials just about every time you play back a recorded show.  So far I’ve managed to figure out how to skip them but it’s a pain in the tail and I worry that Tivo might just make it impossible to skip their paid commercials. If I skip too many TIVO commercials the TIVO reboots, now that is a special feature I must say. NOT.  On top of that I paid for a lifetime subscription to Tivo so I could avoid commercials, not be given more of them, if you want to force me to watch commercials then provide the TV guide for free and refund my lifetime subscription. Mandatory Tivo commercials, not a good idea Tivo, not at all.

Finally Tivo changed the fantastic navigation that had been in place since the Series1 Tivo, it was in the Series 2, and Series5.  You could easily flip between the active channels move between settings all with the arrow buttons, never a hickup never a problem.  Nothing was deeper then 2 or 3 clicks unless you were deep in settings adjusting something.  If you try to use the navigation you now have to use a menu bar and the exit button to get in and out of the menus, just extra BS, it gets frustrating, Tivo don’t fix what is not broken.  Also now at the top of the hour and the half hour it’s nearly impossible to shift between active channels, you have to use the right arrow to bring up the active channels as soon as the pop up they pop back… Great. The Tivo is overloaded within it’s menu system.  For years folks have tried to copy Tivo’s interface because it was fantastic, now Tivo has solved that, the current interface is terrible.  Not a good idea Tivo, not at all.

I now own the last Tivo’s I’ll ever buy, it’s a shame really, what was a great product has become a runner up, and not even a close runner up in my opinion. For years I’ve recommended Tivo to everyone I know, even my friends in Australia had Tivo’s before Tivo introduced the Series3 Product in Australia.  What will I buy? I have no idea, as frustrated as I am at my Series6 Tivo I hope it lasts a long time, I suspect it will be a very frustrating search to replace my TIVO’s there are other devices out there, Amazon, Tablo, Sling, or go the DIY route with MythTV/Kodi.  At some point I’ll replace both Tivo’s with something else but likely it won’t be half as good as the old Tivo’s were.