Believe it or not, I don’t think I’ve ever complained about my crummy Verizon Fios service. I absolutely love their blazing fast Internets but their television service basically sucks, specifically their HD. I’m a subscriber to their “Extreme HD” package that includes all their HD Channels. Only problem is there HD-DVR is so crummy that I only received about 5 of the 20 or 30 HD Channels that I paid for. After six months of going round and round with their tech people and have people come out to the house, as well as replacing their crappy DVR – which only records 20 hours of HD programming, barely recorded HD at all, I finally gave up and purchased my own equipment. I upgraded my old Tivo Box – that I never used to get the Tivo HD Series 3. It’s a neat little box because I can increase the storage capacity on it, I went to Best Buy and purchased a 500 Gig MyDVR Expander for about $65. The new Tivo Series 3 is all about connectivity, it features Netflix Instant Watch, Amazon OnDemand, Podcast Viewing, YouTube, and a host of other nifty things. But here’s the thing, the Tivo Service itself is terrible. I really HATE it, but at least the box works. I don’t understand how it beat out the much easier to use and customizable ReplayTV service. Here are Five things Tivo can do to improve.
1. Enable 30 Second Commercial Skip
It’s ridiculous that you have to hack Tivo remotes in order Every other DVR I’ve ever used has this feature when you first turn it on. It’s used to be part of Tivo’s marketing pitch that you can skip commercials – but it’s a LIE, you have to hack it to enable 30-second skip.
2. Clean-up the Amazingly Confusing Menu
The Tivo Central Menu is amazingly confusing. In the name of “simplicity,” they bury a lot of standard things like – the DVR To Do List, to get there you have to go to Find Programs and scroll all the way to the end. To get to the Connect to Tivo Service Menu, I have to go into settings, scroll down, then network. To get to my Netflix Instant Q and I have to go through several layers – and the Netflix interface is hideously plain and clunky. Everything is a minimum of 3 clicks away. When you click the Now Playing button it’s cluttered as heck. Why is it users can’t customize their Menu Experience? Tivo hasn’t changed it’s menu system in 8 years and it shows.
3. Add Picture in Picture to the Tivo Central Guide
Every other DVR I’ve ever used puts the program you are watching in a small picture in picture window while you are searching for other programs. Not Tivo. The minute you go into the Tivo Central area that’s it, you aren’t watching or listening to your program anymore. A lot of times I like to check the DVR Recording Schedule during a commercial or a particularly boring news segment. Or I’ll just want to double check that Burn Notice is still scheduled to be recorded. It takes at least 3 minutes to set up a recording.
4. Change the TV Guide
The TV Guide (not the company) interface simply sucks. Again navigating it is a chore, when you click the guide, instead of minimizing it, or giving you the option of choosing how it displays, it shows this hideous “transparent” guide superimposed over my entire picture. I want to be able to set the guide so it displays at the top or bottom of my screen not across my entire 46 inch television.
5. Allow Users to Control their Experience
When I delete something, I want the program permanently gone, I don’t want it to be sitting off in some other folder in case I deleted by “accident.” I don’t want to have to delete a program, then navigate to some deletion folder and then do three more clicks to permanently delete something – it’s stupid! Let me control my menus! If I click Tivo Central, I want my Netflix, Amazon, Podcasts, Now Playing, Search, etc to be there. I don’t want to have to hunt and peck through 3 layers to get to it. Just because I’m in Tivo Central, doesn’t mean I don’t want to watch or listen to whatever program that I’m watching at the time. What all of the above comments lead to is; I’m paying a “fortune” for this crappy service, allow me to control my own experience.