I’ve owned my Series 1 TiVo since around ‘99 or ‘00. The little guy is still ticking away. It’s on its third hard drive (started out with 14G), hasn’t had a working warranty since shortly after its purchase (voided it early, voided it often), and has long, long passed the cost/benefit inflection point for its lifetime service.
I’m going to keep using that sucker until it drops dead, which heaven willing, will not be for a long, long time.
So recently I looked into upgrading to a High Def TiVo. After checking out (and nearly passing out at) the price, and checking out the features, I passed. I decided to build my own TiFaux with a Mac mini, an eyeTV hybrid, and AppleTV. I just couldn’t see where the near-thousand-dollars of cost would be worth it, even with the Series-1 upgrade discount.
Still, there are many things I love about my TiVo–things I don’t get with my TiFaux. Here are a few of the more important ones off the top of my head.
The TiVo is reliable. My TiVo has worked non-stop for something like 8 years. Once I learned to adjust the IR blaster timing, I have not missed recordings. I ask the TiVo to record. It records. My eyeTV-based TiFaux has missed several recordings over the last few months. It gets caught up in some bug or another. Not only do I miss that show, but I miss any other shows until I reset the software.
The TiVo listings are fabulous and accurate. They go out about 10 days versus about 5 days with the eyeTV/TitanTV listings. They list many more actors and details than TitanTV, which is great for searching.
The TiVo does season passes. I have to schedule everything by hand every week on my TiFaux.
The TiVo gets space management. When I’m close to running out of space, the TiVo whacks any recordings I haven’t put a “save” on automatically.
The TiVo does suggestions. There’s always something to watch that I haven’t thought of myself, but that the TiVo knows I’d probably like. And after training it for 8 years, it’s really good at that.
The TiVo understands partial recordings. My TiFaux gets confused a lot. When I start a recording mid-program, I often end up recording three hours rather than the single show I intended.
The TiVo pauses standard definition TV. Yes, you can pause High Def TV using eyeTV–there’s a built-in buffer–but you can’t pause and resume standard def. I don’t know why and I don’t really see a good reason for this design decision.
The TiVo keeps me updated. It lets me know about schedule changes, and channels that have been added to or removed from my lineup. With my TiFaux, I won’t see any new channels unless I manually rescan my cable connection on a periodic basis.
The TiVo does wishlists. Still no wishlists on my TiFaux.
The TiVo remote is a work of art. It just feels right in your hand, it’s easy to use, and it’s a fabulous design. The TiFaux remote? Meh.
The TiVo is 4-year-old friendly. My kids all started “understanding” the TiVo at about age 3. The yellow button–first item to be used. Then the fast forward and rewind and review buttons. My youngest sees the TiVo as a SpongeBob-dispensing device. I don’t like them using the Mac Mini/TiFaux. They have messed up my poor computers once too often.