A fantastic 'gadget' that really will change the way you watch TV. RIP VCRs! - Advantages: Record while playing back, Pausing live TV, Very good quality recordings - Disadvantages: Limited recording space (standard config), TiVo to Sky channel changes are clunky
I got tivo a few moths ago and i can say that it is very good. The best description ive come up with is its a "vcr on steroids". Tivo will let you record anything day or night without using videotapes, it learns what you like and what you dont. It will even record programs it thinks you will like. You can search for a program via, its name, the channel its on, the time and the date. You can, with a couple of presses of the remote get tivo to record every episode of a series for you automatically. You can even watch something that you have recorded while it records something else. Tivo is designed for anyone with either, sky, cable, digital cable, itv digital, and even terrestial tv. Its very easy to install and only takes a couple of minutes to plug in thanks to the big set up poster. The tivo box can store 40hrs of tv at basic quality, and around 13 hrs at best quality. The box is now £399 and the subscription is either £10 a month, or £200 once. The remote is confortable to hold and has the buttons laid out well. Tivo learns the tv you like by the "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" buttons. When you are watching tv, either live or recorded, you can press either button to tell tivo what you think of the programme. After you have done this enough tivo will start recording things automatically for you, but you can turn this off if you dont like it. Another great feature is the pause live tv option, if you are watching your favorite program and then the phone goes, dont worry, just press the pause button on the remote. When you come back after finding out it was some guy trying to sell you double glazing, you simply press the play button and you start watching where you left off, even if the program isnt over.or you can skip right to the end. And of course you can skip through the ads with no hassle. Ever nighht tivo connects to udate its listings via the a freephone number. Once youve tried tivo you will never want to use normal tv again.
Debated buying a TiVO for a while, because I thought it was a bit pricey - £600 including the lifetime subscription). Eventually, I succombed last week. When I got the unit home, I discovered that I had a set-up which TiVO doesn't really work with. I have Analog Sky (which I knew was not supported) and On Digital through an Integrated Digital TV. Unfortunately, TiVO requires you to have a set-top box, so that it can change the digital channel and record from that channel. Having tried for a while, I called Customer Support. They answered very quickly (well done), and told me my problem - the lack of a set-top box. They suggested a take the unit back for a refund. However, I'm hoping to get Sky Digital in a couple of months so instead I have set up the TiVO just to work with the basic terrestrial channels. I haven't found much use for pausing live TV, which is the big advertised feature. Instead, I really like the way you can record programmes, and it stores a nice clear list of what you have got recorded. No more messing around trying to find the tape you recorded Match of the Day on. The best feature is that you can book a season pass for any programme, so that all episodes are recorded automatically. Be warned, though. ER is not only on Wednesday evenings. There are also 2 old episodes every day - all of which get recorded under the season pass. Easy enough to delete the unwanted ones though and not a big price to pay for the certainty that you can go on holiday, and all your regular favourites will automatically be recorded while you are away. TiVO also records its own suggestions for you. Every day, I get home and find it has recorded a variety of day-time TV programmes for me. Most are rubbish and I delete them However, every so often I find it has recorded something worthwhile. I'm really looking forward to having my Sky Digital, so that every channel will be available to TiVO and I'll b arely need my VCR again. Until then, it's nearly perfect.
As others have commented, TiVo is nothing short of revolutionary. Combining ease of use, superb picture quality and the best EPG (Electronic Programme Guide) around, you are left with a superb product. However, as good as it is, there is room for improvement - luckily, we don't have to worry about this... A few days ago, the latest release of software was released for TiVo - it fixed a number of niggles people were having with Nicam and crashes were resolved etc. But users weren't forced to order the software, or pay another penny - it was downloaded by TiVo automatically in the middle of the night. No user involvement was required, and it is through this that I think TiVo could make a huge impact on the UK. So whilst we have all these excellent features on our TiVos, we can watch TV safe in the knowledge that the TiVo Team are working on new software all the time that will make it even better than it already is.
I bought the tivo system I had looked into it for a few days and although it is quite expensive I thought it would be worth it. Buying it: Easier said than done, I am told on the phone that comet and currys sell them, well I do not normally bother with either of these outlets because they rarely have the models that I want and as a rule their service is lacking. Comet first - "I would like to buy a TIVO system please", "certainly sir, I can that for you in about 4 days....". It turns out that they only sell them over the internet, but they will order them into the store if you want. Hmmm fully comprehensive service - not. Well on to Currys, who I took the preemtive step of phoning to make sure that they had some in stock and that they were in store and asked them to reserve one for me. Seeing as it was about 15 miles I thought it was a prident step. So arriving at the store I asked for my system and they said that they had none in stock. Idiots, well I spoke to the manager and for a small discount they gave me the demo model, which I was assured was complete. NOT TRUE, but that is a seperate issue. Installation: The tangle of wires and cables and connectors eventually resolved themseleves into a fully configured system. It is not the most intuitive of setups to do but I would suggest the fee of £50 they say they will chage to do it for you is quite steep. Setup: Once I managed to reset the box from demo mode things were a lot easier. I the went through the setup process which was fine except for when the box had to contact TIVO, which took ages. I finally got to the last step which apparently can take up to 5 hours. I left it running as I went to bed (The screen said restart pending), the next morning it still said the same. So I cut the power and then I had to start again from scratch but everything worked better and it eventually downloaded the data. 2 days work and one working system . Not difficult - but it could be clearer and easier to do, plus a bit quicker would be nice - what is the point in haveing a new toy if you cannot play with it straight away! Use: Once the system was up and running then it is a superb service. Easy to use, clear instructions, simple screens. Unlike the sky on screen TV guide, tivo seems to have about a months worth of schedules in there. The choices it makes for things that it thinks you want to watch are gettng better. The more programs you rate the more intelligent it gets. One let down is the promised 40 hours recording ability is only at basic quality and if you want to record things at best quality then you will end up with 12 hours recording time. It is very easy to see what you have recorded and it is very easy to watch programs you have recorded before. It also will happily record other programs while you are playing something you have already recorded. Pausing live TV and the instant replay functions are very useful - though it takes some getting used to using them - becuase you have never had anything like it before. The one other niggle I have is that it is quite slow chaging channels and if you change channels with your sky remote control then your Tivo system will not know what channel you are on. All in all I am a very happy customer. What would make me happier is about 10 times the recordng space, but that will not happen for a few years I think. ** Additional - I have just founf out that you can massively increase the recording capacity of this device by puttin two new hard disks in it, these will cost about £350 but it will give you about 190 hours at basic level - that is almost 5 times the capacity. Check out the TIVO FAQ for a way of tracking this down and installation instructions.
Tivo is completely legendary. It is the future of recording television programmes. It is essentially a video without tape, using computer hard discs to record on. It actually learns from your viewing habits and you can block book programmes e.g. set it to record every episode of Eastenders and it will do it automatically. It also chooses programmes to record and you then rate these recordings with a thumbs up or thumbs down and Tivo learns what sort of genre of programmes you watch. One of the best features is that when the unit is recording a programme you can start watching it from the start even though it's say only 2/3 of the way through recording the programme. It's ideal if you don't want to keep programmes forever but even if you do you can archive to VHS. You really won't believe your eyes until you see it for yourself!