Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tivo - I Love You, I Hate You

Tivo - I Love You, I Hate You

Tivo is the eighth (or are we up to nine now?) wonder of the world as far as I'm concerned. It turned traditional media on its ear and changed the way consumers demand content forever. I think we are far better off with the options available today. In recent years, Tivo has attempted to expand its reach beyond just being a DVR to the internet and the home computer. Some of this is truly awesome, some of it is incredibly bad.

Truly Awesome :

The ability to transfer any TV show or movie I want on to my computer and keep it forever. I have about 75 episodes of Seinfeld recorded in the last 6 weeks and my collection grows ever fuller by the day. Scheduling shows from the internet is also a really awesome tool. I'll be at work one day and realize, "OH NOES! I forgot to record teh Bears game!" Internet Explorer, sign in, record Bears game, rock on. Watching Photo shows and listening to music through the Tivo is pretty cool although after doing those together on the 360, it's a little hard to be satisfied with one or the other. Last but not least, the skip button - mother of pearl, that is one sweet button.

Incredibly Bad :

Basically trying to get any kind of video content not recorded by the tuner is a frigging nightmare. Tivo Desktop allows you to playback shows that you have recorded and transferred to your computer back to your Tivo, but it's not exactly streaming it. First of all, your PC has to re-transcode the show back to the Tivo's native format (so near as I can tell the Tivo box itself does no translation of any kind) and then as it transcodes, it sends over the file to the Tivo, making the transfer crazy slow. When that's all done you can watch yer show. Yuck. Next up in the line of colossal failures is Amazon Unbox. Here's why this tool will never EVER work : You have to have enough room on your Tivo to download the movie first of all. Then you have to have basically nothing scheduled to record for the next 24 hours or Amazon won't transfer the movie. The Unbox service has to know that there will still be space for the video up to 24 hours later, which is something the Tivo should do automatically, and should not have to be done by me manually.

So content aggregator/creator - thumbs up! Streaming media box - you suck!

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