July 18, 2011

New poll

I've had my TiVo a few months and can't imagine going back to the V+. Great piece of kit - okay, not perfect, but reliable and a most welcome addition to my home entertainment set up. What do you think? A quick poll had been added top right to give voice to the VMHD massive...

36 comments:

manu76 said...

there`s just too many glitches with the tivo box that need to be sorted before Virgin can claim it to be the best way to watch tv....ever. It isn`t all bad tho. I`d give it 70% up to now...as for my v+HD box, well, it might not be as technologically advanced, but it is reliable, and my picture quality is more superior to tivo....at this stage...

Dan said...

Is the latest deal £49/£99 for the box, depending on HDD size, with totally free installation? If so, is there any catch? Do you need to remain a XL customer for the next year or something? I'm not tempted to get a TiVo at those prices, but wary there's some small print that may come back to bite me.

Advice?

Darren Taylor said...

I agree with manu76, there are far too many glitches with the Tivo box that need to be sorted before Tivo can claim to be the best.

howardmicks said...

Totally agree about the glitches and bad epg(ie bad info and series links hit+miss) and the lack of new content to back it are the down points for me

Tom Chiverton said...

Catch ?
Try no BBC red button and no reminders.
For me, that's too much too lose to give up my V+, plus it's extra a month, a charge that'll have to be dropped if NTL stand any chance of shifing everyone to Tivo.

Richard said...

i know i am bias I've said that before. But I thought V+ was a backward step from my series 1 tivo. So I am a fan and think tivo is worth it.

Once you get the thinking behind Tivo its brilliant.
V+ is fine for those who like to know when a programme is on and record it, but I personally hate that as I never know where or when stuff is on. and I like a lot more control over what gets stored.

I did have a long list of other reasons why but have edited this so its shorter.

I've only rebooted once in 4 months and that was the morning after a f/w update.

the only thing I miss is the ability to hack the box and fine tune bits to my liking. Some defaults were a bit annoying at first but only because my Series 1 was heavily tweeked so I got used to the refined setting.

streaky_7 said...

For me, yes there are glitches, improvements needed. And I appreciate for some things like the red button is a important tool for their viewing habits.

But to say V+ is better baffles me. V+ is a one dimensional box. You have to tell it what to do. What to record and when. If it fails that's it. If your running out of space that's it. If it's a new series starting soon but not on the programme guide yet then u have to remember to record it.

With TiVo, and im not going to even go in to recommendations and discovery bar as thats a take it or leave it for me, but with TiVo you have series links and wishlists which eliminates missing setting up a new series to record. You have 500gb or 1tb of storage. And, what I believe to be the magic under the bonnet, the TiVo box will automatically record a show that has failed for any reason. Whether it be just run out of storage, or too many programmes recording at the same time etc. And it wont record a programme that has been recorded or is set to record with 30days. If I re-juggle the priority of my series links and wishlists or delete a planned programme it rejuggles all my programmes and moves all my programmes around to suit.

V+ isn't a patch on TiVo. Yes updates are needed. Yes a couple of key things like red button may be missing. But without red button I still think TiVo is miles better than V+. With the red button etc I can't see how anyone could think V+ is better than TiVo. Like I say it's the small little tricks TiVo does, the things you may not even see that makes it stand out!

daysofspeed said...

A worse GUI and remote design I cannot imagine. Absolute user-hell. Illogical, slow, fussy, poorly thought out and executed.

streaky_7 said...

I disagree. I find all the positives outweigh the current negatives (which will hopefully be sorted through updates).

Slow? Sometimes but mainly when I'm asking it to do a lot. Like I said in my previous post, you perform an action like delete or re-prioritise a wishlist/series link, it has to re-calibrate all your shows. This takes time. I have nearly 100 of them. But I don't have to reboot 2 times a month like my V+.

Just read what the TiVo can do and there is surely no argument it's a better machine than the V+. VM just needy iron out the crinkels. But even now I have found the TiVo a delight to use. So maybe the question you should be asking yourself, depending on your issue with the box (if it's only a red button issue then there isnt much u can do till it comes on board) maybe you should be asking yourself if

A) you are understand and are using the box to maximise it's true potential (not full potential of course - not yet anyway)

Or

B) is your box faulty?

streaky_7 said...

And I don't mean to patronise anyone with my previous with regards to my "point A" (reading it back Im worried someone may take it the wrong way).

Yes it may apply to a minority who don't understand all the tricks but Maybe how I should have worded it was 'maybe the tricks of TiVo just doesn't suit your TV lifestyle' and that the tricks the TiVo does do, and it's main advantages, are beneficial to certain people and not others - if your not a avid TV watcher with lots of different programmes being recorded etc then you won't ever see the TiVo doing it's tricks as there is no need for it too.

howardmicks said...

@streak7 And it wont record a programme that has been recorded or is set to record with 30days.
Maybe yours wont but mine certainly does,Mine will record wwe superstars on sky1 on a saturday and then a sunday every week if you let it.V+ is far more reliable for series links and pre programmed programs but thats not the tivo`s fault its down to bad data provided for tivo guide,At the min my sky+hd box edges ahead for reliabiity but once the bugs are sorted tivo will win by a mile

streaky_7 said...

The data issue is another issue granted - I have experienced it myself when I got it in the neck for it not recording desperate housewives. But this is a problem which is quite minimal when you think of the amount of programmes that's on. Plus I would rather it recorded it and I delete it straight away if not needed than for it to not record at all.

For me it does generally work - and brilliantly. I have a friends series link limited to 2 shows. I watch one, delete it and It then re-calibrates and records the next one - no extra work for me! Great. Plus i have found it never records the same one again.

Or if I have a number of programmes around the same time and there are clashes and clipped stuff all over the place, if I delete a series link programme it will automatcally find when its on next and record it then. Again I don't have to do a thing.

If you go in to rEcording hiccups you will see how much it doesn't record due to already been recorded within 30days etc and you will see what it does under the radar without shouting about it.

Again I understand this will all be about how much you use the box. I have just shy of 100 wishlists and links. I watch a variety of programmes and films on different channels so get a lot of clashes etc so I see the box working hard to do it's job.

Yes there are issues that need sorting but I still think in the main it's cracking.

Adam said...

For reliability its been better than my Sky+HD box. And just to say all in all I'm generally fairly pleased. I think 70% is a fair score as above.

2 main issues - the menus are often like they have been designed on an old ZX Spectrum! Planned recordings just looks terrible and the navigation of the menus is poorly designed. Far too many clicks to get to the right screen plus it on average takes about 2-3 seconds to load each page. With todays technology and internet speeds thats far too slow! Does anyone have any experience in the US, is it the same there on a tivo?

And secondly as mentioned the TV data is often poor meaning that I have to set it to record new and re-runs so it doesn't miss new shows not flagged as new (as advised by virgin). But that then means I get loads of old shows and although it shouldn't just yesterday it had recorded 3 identical episodes of Britain & Irelands Next top model (should you ever admit to watching that?!). So this EPG data needs sorting to make the tivo work as it was designed. Maybe thats what the feedback tool was designed to improve...

nick said...

Way too many glitches still there that were during during the alpha testing stage.

1. Subtitles sticking on screen.
2. Subtitles causing lines across the screen.
3. The red doughnut (thumbs up thumds down play play play to reset which cause issue above).
4. Volume fluctuates up and down.
5. EPG slow to load up at times (black screen then draws the boxes etc.).
6. My shows (as point 5).
7. Sound drop outs.
8. Some guide screens still in SD sending some TV's crazy when switching resolution.

The other missing features.
1. Default series link options.
2. Red button (sky sport and bbc)

It still has a long way to go.

streaky_7 said...

this is what I find confusing. If you are getting these issues then how come i dont? I'm not saying they dont exist but why is it they dont exist for all? is it a faulty box??

1. Subtitles sticking on screen - HAVENT A REASON TO USE
2. Subtitles causing lines across the screen - HAVENT A REASON TO USE
3. The red doughnut (thumbs up thumds down play play play to reset which cause issue above) - NEVER HAD THIS ISSUE
4. Volume fluctuates up and down - NEVER HAD THIS ISSUE
5. EPG slow to load up at times (black screen then draws the boxes etc.) - NEVER HAD THIS ISSUE
6. My shows (as point 5) - CAN BE A LITTLE SLOW SOMETIMES BUT MORE WHEN ITS DOING SOMETHING LIKE ABOUT TO RECORD SOME PROGRAMMES, THEN IT SPEEDS UP AGAIN
7. Sound drop outs - NEVER HAD THIS
8. Some guide screens still in SD sending some TV's crazy when switching resolution - OK WE ALL HAVE THIS - THOUGH I DONT GET ANY ISSUES WITH SWITCHING RESOLUTION - I JUST LEAVE IT ON 1080i WHICH MAY BE WHY

streaky_7 said...

Just noticed this on another blog

"Breaking news! Catch up EPG now links to BBC iPlayer content from today for Virgin Media's TiVo"

just tested it and it works...

Nialli said...

I'm with Streaky 7 on this one:
1. Subtitles sticking on screen.
not that I've noticed
2. Subtitles causing lines across the screen.
Again, not that I've noticed. I don't use them regularly though
3. The red doughnut
A second or two at worse.
4. Volume fluctuates up and down.
I haven't had this
5. EPG slow to load up at times Nor this. It's faster than the Samsung V+
6. My shows
I have 45% usage and My Shows is instant. I've turned off Suggestions - could that be improving my experience?
7. Sound drop outs.
Again, not had this
8. Some guide screens still in SD sending some TV's crazy when switching resolution.
Only if you have two resolutions selected. And it will vary depending on your TV. As I mainly watch in HD I only have 1080i set for most viewing - the SD picture quality is okay. If I'm watching an SD film I drop down to 720p but that's at most once a week

The other missing features.
1. Default series link options.
2. Red button (sky sport and bbc)
They're coming

The only bug I find annoying is the repeated PIN requests, but it's an irritation, hardly a showstopper.

streaky_7 said...

The PIN is probably the most annoying thing for me. Especially as my Daughter now knows it for when she wants to watch her children's programmes recorded at night - no point having the PIN any more.

I too turned off suggestions as I was finding this was overriding planned programmes and i was missing the ends of planned stuff rather than the suggestion not recording. This also may be something that has helped speed?

Im running at 67% right now. I was up to 82% on Saturday afternoon. I was setting a few things to record and it started listing programmes that would fail due to insufficient space...i then deleted a couple of bits and pieces I wasnt that fussed about, a couple of films I just hit the record button in case I watched it, and the magic happened - all the things that were due to fail to record, were now going to record...without me having to go back in to the guide and reselect them (like you would with V+).

and I too only have 1 resolution setting selected as i was getting the flicker in the TV. now i dont.

but this is what I meant before, maybe it is the settings we are all choosing which is what makes it a good experience for one and poor experience for another?

Adam said...

"6. My shows
I have 45% usage and My Shows is instant. I've turned off Suggestions - could that be improving my experience?"

So from watching a TV program to hitting the My Shows button on the remote, how long does it take for that page to fully load?

At work now but I'd say several seconds off the top of my head but we have suggestions in there. Am wondering if removing that is making a difference? After all the data in the My Shows page is largely static, ie the box can cache the data it needs to display when you hit that page in the background and it should be instant.... Just not for us.

streaky_7 said...

@Adam
Only cause im "working" from home today I thought I would check this out.

Im running at 67% at the moment. I have tested this several times. I find the results depend on whether something, an 'event', has just happened. example, stopping or starting a recording or deleting a programme, these all extended the load time for the first time after an 'event' has taken place.

1) first load after an 'event' - load time is about 7 seconds

2) subsequent loading is about 4 seconds

I did check the V+ and found it was instant - that said, it did then freeze and reboot on me! bloody thing. haha

So I guess its not instant but waiting 4 secs isnt an issue for me which is why I dont see it as an issue.....as I have said before, the main time i get red donut is when i re-prioritise my wishlists and series links - then it can red donut for 3-5 minutes whilst it sorts all my planned programmes out. but again i dont mind. I do it when im not watching anything and I know it will benefit my viewing

Moleman said...

It's a good box and way better than the V+ but the 70% score is about right. The red button issue will be sorted eventually but is a pain, one that can be endured however. The main issue I have is that every time I switch on the box from stand by the video output defaults to 576p. Now apparently this is a known fault as I am running it via HDMI through an Onkyo TX SR607 amplifier coupled to a Themescene HD 72i projector (native 720p/1080i) all capable of upscaling to 1080p. It is a right royal pain to have to reset the video output every time I switch on! If anyone knows a solution to this (that doesn't involve leaving it all switched on 24/7!) I would be mightily grateful!

Adam said...

Ok, so a similar lead time to what we experience.

I guess its user specific but for me 4 secs is too long. Its a simple request to the box that you are asking - show me my recorded shows. Its just a list of files. But for me this is the same with all navigation of the box. It just feels slow and sluggish and things take more clicks than necessary.
I guess my main question is is this a similar experience with Tivo in the US or is it a Virgin software specific time lag?
Unfortunately it will always be compared to sky and as Virgin market it as the latest and greatest its menu surfing needs to be as fast as sky. Unfortunately its a lot slower.
But just to reiterate I am 70% happy with it and generally prefer it over the Sky HD box. But just these few areas where it lets itself down - for me anyway!

devilincarnate said...

Oh just all get a grip and get along

streaky_7 said...

I'm perfectly happy with everyone's opinions on here. In fact I find it interesting. Tryin to think of why some are getting negative vibes from TiVo and why some are very happy and trying to throw things in the mix which may help some or indeed me.

But thank you for your constructive post Devilincarnate. It was most helpful. Would love to hear your thoughts on TiVo though, something relevant to add to this post? How your finding it? Good and bad? Anything obvious people may be missing to help others get more out of their TiVo?

See.....I can get along.

Square eyes said...

Had the box for quite a while now & must say - never had any issues or problems, not one...

I LOVE MY TIVO :o)

sibod said...

Yes, Tivo is sluggish, yes, it has bugs, and yes, the Pin and lack fo Red Button on some channels is frustrating - however:

1. Being able to set folders for shows and set it to keep only the last x number of watched shows is a godsend.
Peppa Pig, Fireman Sam, Bob the builder, Baby Jake and other kids shows would take over my Tivo for the rest of my life if I didnt have about 5-10 episodes of each rather than everything!
Tivo 1, V+ 0

2. THe search function is significantly more pwoerful than the V+ - it is faster, and searches all content, and gives you options on how to get it.
Missed the first episode of Torchwood? Fine - if it's not int he on demand, you can set a wish list item for it - just by searching for Torchwood, selecting the season and episode you want, read the episode guide and check if its wone you've not seen yet. Tivo will then wait for that show and record it when it's on, or pull from the on demand database and provide you with a link to it. Excellent!

This has saved my bacon more than once.

TIvo 2, V+ 0

3. Suggestions. Yes, a lot of it is rubbish, but there's been stuff in there I would have otherwise missed. Movies, new episodes of shows I've not yet told Tivo I liked (big bang theory being one!) and the like.
Tivo 3, V+ 0

4. Undelete.
In a bid mad episode of deleting I've once or twice deleted a new unwatched episode of something - and regretted it. Unlike V+, I can go to the recently deleted list and recover it and watch it.

Tivo 4, V+ 0

5. Discovery bar.
Again, it's shown up stuff I would have missed. The new series of Torchwood showed up in there because I recorded Doctor Who - so I was able to set recordings for it.
Tivo 5, V+ 0

6. Speed.
TIvo's biggest problem is that it can be sluggish, especially compared to the V+ - but it's not dramatic and it is more often than not faster. Searching TV on demand is significantly faster for example..
Tivo 5, V+1

7. Interface.
Tivo has a far nicer, better laid out interface. V+ by contrast is just a bunch of text on a black background. There's no rich UI to draw you in, the menus are just hierarchical and not contextual like the TIvo. Having said that, it is consistent and things are reasonably logical.
Tivo 6, V+1

8. Rewind and conflicts.
Simply put the V+ stank at clashes. It gave you the chance to resolve them yourself, but if you missed the banner it was a case of losing the show you wanted recorded and putting up with it. TIvo intelligently reschedules if it misses the show for whatever reason.
Tivo 7, V+ 1

9. Remote record.
Simply put I love being able to set recordings over the internet or from my phone. Cant do that with V+, so that's an instant win.
Tivo 8, v+1

10. Reliability.
By far the biggest issue I have with the Tivo is that if your internet connection is down, then yoru Tivo loses significant media - such as the discovery bar, TV Guide updates and programme info - and it errors and throws you out of certain options. A pain in the backside.
V+ was far simpler than that and thus didn't suffer network outages.

Tivo 8, V+ 2

So there you go.
I know it's subjective, if you just want to hit record and view back the odd show, Tivo is far too complex - but if your family has lots of favourites and watch things at odd times, then you will love Tivo.

streaky_7 said...

@Sibod - great post. and may I add the following little "extras" the TiVo has

1. Messages
Whether it be to confirm a remote recording or for VM to send you a message like this morning's one about BBC iPlayer now on On Demand.

Tivo 9, V+ 2

2. Apps & Games
Not for everyone I suppose but it is another feature over V+

Tivo 10, V+ 2

3. Recording Hiccups
Nice little feature to see why a programme wasnt recorded. I have only looked at this a couple of times but it gave me great insight in to how TiVo works and helped me work better with it.

Tivo 11, V+ 2

4. Manage My Series Links
V+, as Sibod pointed out, is a set up once and go. If it records great, if it doesnt...damn! Tivo is better than this. And this feature works with you on getting a better performance out of your machine. Re-prioritise your links and wishlists so your favs are at the top. They should always then record and others, if there are clashes, will then be reset for another recording day. BEWARE THOUGH, THE MORE LINKS YOU HAVE THE LONGER THE RED DONUT WILL SIT THERE WHILST IT IS UPDATING YOUR PLANNED PROGRAMME LIST - I HAVE NEARLY 100 LINKS/WISHLISTS, IT TAKES ABOUT 5MINS FOR MINE TO UPDATE SO PICK YOUR MOMENT TO DO THIS

Tivo 12, V+ 2

5. Remote Buttons & Shortcuts
Whether it channel up/down, fast forward/rewind skipping features, thumbs up/down, easy delete, removing the mini screen in the menu section, these are all little tricks you cant do with a V+ remote

Tivo 13, V+ 2

6. Choice of Hard Drive
Whether it be 500gb or 1tb, with Tivo you have significantly more space plus a choice of how much extra space you need.

Tivo 14, V+ 2

7. Tuners
Tivo has 3. Plus with Tivo you can actually record 3 things at once whilst you watch a recorded programme or I believe something from On Demand. And you can toggle through the tuners to catch up with things - good for sports!

Tivo 15, V+ 2


Finally, Tivo and V+ isnt really a comparison if we think about it. V+ and SKY+ are comparisons. Tivo is in a league of its own!!

Richard said...

I go away for a couple of days on a business trip and I miss all the fun!
Well said sibod and streaky_7... I did have another couple to add...

TiVo can record all or just new episodes
TiVo 16 v+2

TiVo can record series links in future when programme off air for a while then comes back, even if it changes time slot!
V+ was rubbish at managing returning series or changed timeslots.
TiVo 17 v+ 2

Streaky_7 also raises a good point, about looking at the logs to see why programs don't record. When you learn how TiVo 'thinks' you will start to get more out of wish lists and series link by tweaking the settings.

patrick192447 said...

I think myself and streaky may fall out again the tivo box in my opinion offers nothing that a sky hd box can not do having had both; if i can get out of my vm contract for tv back to sky i would go.

Richard said...

@patrick192447 - you are entitled to your opinion, but I feel you would say if a VCR had dual tuners and HD recording capability you would say that was as good.

Shame you can't see what the product does.

Richard said...

@patrick192447 - sorry. I'm going to end this type of discussion the way my wife would.

There is no right or wrong here.
There are needs and solutions.

The argument is like saying to someone a smartphone is the best phone when all they want is a basic phone to make a call.

If a sky HD box meets your needs then you are right, the Tivo offers YOU nothing more.
To others they see lots of features they benefit from and for them, they are right.

It is obvious the Tivo offers far superior features, but not everyone needs them or benefits from them and for those people...
so what if tivo is +15 and V+ 2.

But will you concede this point and agree that the tivo is a superior box but you just don't need those features it offers over a sky HD box?

streaky_7 said...

@Patrick

Haha I'm not fallin out with you or anyone over this. As I have said before I do find it interesting. And I have picked up loads of good tips from people on here.

Obviously we are in disagreement which is fine. U r entitled to you opinion and if ur that disappointed then u definitely need to get back to sky, at least you have Atlantic over there.

But my parents have got Sky+ HD. And I dont know why u think TiVo offers nothing Sky+ can't. In my head it clearly offers more. Just reading this post you can see it offers more. I thought it was fact but clearly it's just opinion if people like yourself disagree and it looks like what u get from TiVo doesn't benefit you at all. And like most things, if for whatever reason, u don't see a benefit, then u won't agree it's good.

Just a shame TiVo launched as being perfect. Although people like me still think it's great and don't mind a lot of the niggles till updates come through, there will be people who need convincing so in the end VM will lose out. But then from what I gather, even if it was perfect, I don't know if you would still think it was better than Sky+?

jiggy said...

This looks like the ideal thread for my question, if you'll forgive me! :)

I'm getting Virgin Media soon, and am planning to go for the TiVo box (I had a v1 TiVo and wow did I miss it when I 'upgraded' to Sky HD).

But, is there anything that the V+ can do, that the TiVo can't? Eg, a friend with Virgin showed me how he could call up music videos like on a jukebox? And does anyone have any screenshots etc that compares the two graphical interfaces?

Nialli said...

@Jiggy: check out Jason's PVR comparison chart https://spreadsheets.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?hl=en_GB&hl=en_GB&key=0Akz2Z4tzaPNddENTMGlaajFGOVQ3X0w1cEZKV0RYUUE&single=true&gid=0&output=html

Nialli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nialli said...

Not sure that link will work. Try this one http://virgintivo.blogspot.com/