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Old 10-20-2013, 11:42 AM   #1
dtivouser
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The Roamio unboxing experience is really lame

I bought a Roamio Plus from Amazon to replace a failing S3.

I can't believe how much time it had to spend "upgrading" before I was able to interact with it. Seriously, two upgrades just to power up for the first time? And each "should take less than an hour"?

Time-Warner Cable [North County San Diego] was oddly helpful and helped me pair my Cable Card over the phone. THAT was a great surprise that they didn't require a truck roll. Score one for TWC.

What I thought would be an easy call to Tivo to activate service was really frustrating. They are transferring service from my old Tivo (I presume that eliminates minimum contracts?) but because I called fairly late in the day on a Saturday, they don't think a supervisor will be able to approve the transfer before... MONDAY. What? How is this not a 24x7 capability?

Oh and also, I want to transfer shows from another Tivo in the house and from Tivo Desktop. Today, obviously. Apparently that won't work for several days either, as MAKs are exchanged during the nightly calls and it takes several "calls" from each before key exchanges are done.

So a day later my new Tivo is still nagging to activate service, and the oddest error message appears in Tivo Central: "Go to UNKNOWN and enter your Tivo Service number to active this UNKNOWN." Huh?

Doesn't Tivo realize that when someone pays hundreds of dollars for a new entertainment gadget, they expect a great experience right away?

Doesn't Tivo understand that we are sort of past the paradigm of "Nightly Calls" from the boxes and that modern web architectures shouldn't have this limitation?

Oh, and a curse upon their designers for introducing the A-B-C-D color coded remote keys. My Harmony One doesn't have a good place to put those (ugh more soft keys) and I really don't want a Harmony Touch.

So for the first time ever, my cable company comes away with a far better unboxing experience than Tivo. Note: UNKNOWN wants to use UNKNOWN right now without UNKNOWN service being UNKNOWN.
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Old 10-20-2013, 01:11 PM   #2
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Those keys have been on the TiVo remotes for 3.5 years. And Harmony has a remote that has those keys on it.

But you can just easily put those A-D buttons on the touch screen or easily map it to a hard key. I have several Harmony Ones and decided the four buttons weren't worth the expensive upgrade.

But one of the best things about the Harmony remotes is the ability to easily map to a hard button or the touch screen. So I really don't see a valid complaint about those.

They have been on BD player remotes for much, much longer than they have been on TiVo remotes. They are nothing new.
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Old 10-20-2013, 04:28 PM   #3
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The out of box experience has pretty much always sucked. They could do a lot better. It's annoying but eventually worth it once it's done and out of the way.
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Old 10-20-2013, 05:22 PM   #4
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The out of box experience has pretty much always sucked. They could do a lot better. It's annoying but eventually worth it once it's done and out of the way.
Until you get to all the annoying ads after spending up to $1500 on gear and lifetime service!
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Old 10-20-2013, 06:01 PM   #5
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Yea the ads were a bit of a surprise to me too as well. Kind of shocking actually.
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Old 10-21-2013, 01:53 AM   #6
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The ABCD buttons can easily be mapped to soft keys with the harmony remotes and depending on your use of the interface, mostly forgotten after that.

I agree that something Tivo should advise new customers is to force connections, repeatedly if necessary, on new and existing boxes and even restart them until full service is available. On my Roamios I was able to get activations, SP and MRV transfers working the same day after forcing connections. Waiting on the standard service calls, it could easily be several days before all boxes are sync'd.

With the grace period bug, it may just be easier if Tivo had new boxes call home more often with the assumption that activation is coming and new features may need to be activated. The increased call home activity could be relaxed several days after activation.
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Old 10-21-2013, 03:55 AM   #7
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Another example of a company spending too much money on advertising and not enough making the customer happy after they buy the item. I guess they figure they have you once you spend your money, so they can abuse you by cutting corners. I do love my TiVo but hate it whenever they download new software that breaks a perfectly good machine. And how come I know more about TiVos that the call center staff?
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:08 AM   #8
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Until you get to all the annoying ads after spending up to $1500 on gear and lifetime service!
+1

I'm paying for service. A LOT! I shouldn't be subjected to ads.
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Old 10-21-2013, 08:14 AM   #9
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It would be nice not to have ads, but it adds a revenue stream to TiVo and helps keep them in business which we all want after spending our money on hardware and service. TiVo has been doing this many years and I guess I'm just used to them. Not a big deal for me.
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Old 10-21-2013, 02:26 PM   #10
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The miserable unboxing experience is what keeps me from recommending Tivo to non-technical family and friends. My dad is in his 70s and would probably enjoy the Tivo experience, but with the unboxing confusion in the first day he would probably just unplug it and forget about it. As a typical counter example, he loves his iPhone.

Trying to activate service 2hrs before "quittin' time" on a Saturday means I had to wait until after the weekend to use the device. Amazing.
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Old 10-21-2013, 02:33 PM   #11
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Why would you have to call in at all? That's the part I'm not clear on.

When I got my Roamio, I was able to log in online and get the TiVo activated even before unboxing. I then set the Roamio up, let it go through it's upgrade cycle (nothing unusual - even the new Nintendo Wii U requires an extended upgrade right out of the box, I believe), then I was ready to go.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the 'out of box' experience with a TiVo, to be honest.
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Old 10-21-2013, 07:41 PM   #12
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Why would you have to call in at all? That's the part I'm not clear on.

When I got my Roamio, I was able to log in online and get the TiVo activated even before unboxing. I then set the Roamio up, let it go through it's upgrade cycle (nothing unusual - even the new Nintendo Wii U requires an extended upgrade right out of the box, I believe), then I was ready to go.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the 'out of box' experience with a TiVo, to be honest.
+1
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Old 10-21-2013, 08:49 PM   #13
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The miserable unboxing experience is what keeps me from recommending Tivo to non-technical family and friends. My dad is in his 70s and would probably enjoy the Tivo experience, but with the unboxing confusion in the first day he would probably just unplug it and forget about it. As a typical counter example, he loves his iPhone.

Trying to activate service 2hrs before "quittin' time" on a Saturday means I had to wait until after the weekend to use the device. Amazing.
To me, the only confusion about your unboxing experience is that it sounds like you had something dorked up on your pre-existing TiVo.com account that required a manager to fix.

I think if you did a show of hands in this thread from people that had the same experience (and there's people in this thread that have activated a lot of TiVos over the years), you'd probably be the only one raising your hand.

You had a bad activation experience, and shame on TiVo for that.

But IMO with the Start Here poster that comes with every TiVo box explaining as much as it does, I'd see no reason to not recommend TiVo to non-technical friends or family, unless you're just pissed about your "it took a weekend" experience and that somehow makes you feel better.
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:35 AM   #14
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Why would you have to call in at all? That's the part I'm not clear on.

When I got my Roamio, I was able to log in online and get the TiVo activated even before unboxing. I then set the Roamio up, let it go through it's upgrade cycle (nothing unusual - even the new Nintendo Wii U requires an extended upgrade right out of the box, I believe), then I was ready to go.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the 'out of box' experience with a TiVo, to be honest.
With My replacement Roamio Pro, I activated it online at 11Am when I was at work. I didn't set it up until I got home that evening after 7PM. The service number is on the outside of the box. I just took a picture of it in the store so I would have a copy of the service number to activate it. Then I just set it up and it updated and everything was fine. I do expect any new piece of electronics to update right away. I would rather it update on the first bootup then sometime later. That way I know it should have the most recent software. It's when a device doesn't update at first bootup that I get worried. Because a device just purchased is typically weeks if not months old since it was packaged.
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:34 AM   #15
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I agree. I would rather have the device update itself out of the box, even if it takes a while.

I'm sure the reason TiVo has to have so many updates out of the box, is because of changes in the software.

You can't just go straight to software version C because you need software version A before you can install version B, and so on.
That is pretty much common for any device.
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:28 AM   #16
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I agree. I would rather have the device update itself out of the box, even if it takes a while.

I'm sure the reason TiVo has to have so many updates out of the box, is because of changes in the software.
I believe since the Premiere launch they have added the ability to do updates during guided setup. Before, the user might not see the update for 2-3 days. And since so many of these updates include cablecard fixes, it is extremely important they are pushed right away. The Roamio is so fast that updates probably take half the time as before so I don't see it as a major issue but a welcome one.
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Old 10-22-2013, 11:06 AM   #17
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I do expect any new piece of electronics to update right away. I would rather it update on the first bootup then sometime later. That way I know it should have the most recent software. It's when a device doesn't update at first bootup that I get worried. Because a device just purchased is typically weeks if not months old since it was packaged.
And remember that TiVos are not built to order. If they updated each unit before shipping, someone would have to unpack it, take the time to install the newest software, and then repack it. How much more would the people who are complaining about setup time be willing to pay for a TiVo employee to do that?
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Old 10-22-2013, 12:19 PM   #18
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I set up my Roamio on Friday starting at 2PM. I had already bought the lifetime service that morning at work.

By 3PM I had the box completely updated including cable card activation and onDemand available. By 3:30PM the other boxes on my network were available. Really a much smoother process then ever before. Sure the updates said "may take an hour" but neither update took more than 10 minutes.

By 3:00PM 95% of the features were working, just had to wait on Amazon and MRS/Transfer.

I wonder how much of that quoted may take an hour is built in for slow internet connections.
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:33 PM   #19
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I installed 2 x Roamio's, 2 Pro's, and a Mini.
The out of box experience was excruciatingly terrible.
In this technological day and age an hour+ setup time is unacceptable, and basic consumer user experience research shows first impressions have a lasting impact.

The Mini was the worst, 1:20 until operational, the Roamios all about 0:50 to 1:10. And I am just talking about getting the box operational, this does not include cable card pairing, which took a few minutes online.

(Not an internet speed problem, have 75Mb/s)

P.
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Old 10-22-2013, 08:57 PM   #20
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I wonder what TiVo can do to improve this.

Doesn't seem like skipping updates during setup is an option, because they have to deal with people who are buying TiVos that have been sitting in Best Buy warehouses for several months and arrive with old software that's missing features. Or specifically with the Roamio, the fact that the original software load contained a bug that prevented a grace period (which turned out to be a fairly big deal with as long as activations were taking to process the first week or so).

I don't think there's anything unique about the Roamio's unboxing experience. IIRC, all of the various TiVo models I've owned and activated over the years forced updates during the setup process.
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Old 10-22-2013, 09:30 PM   #21
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Here are a couple of thoughts:
- Ship the units with software that is feature complete and high quality, i.e. no immediate update required.
- Improve the performance of the update process, e.g. one download and one reboot only, smaller download, less time to apply update.
- Improve the out of box flow to one click, i.e. do you accept the EULA, and then use all defaults, e.g. why do you need to ask me if you should use DHCP, use DHCP and if it fails ask me what to do, I can always change it later if I'm the minority that needs custom network settings.

The TiVo OOB experience may have always sucked, my all my other consumer devices just work when I power them on for the first time, including my FiOS DVR's, they just worked, no update required, they updated themselves later that night when I was sleeping.

P.
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:05 PM   #22
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Wouldn't hurt (at least with a capable CPU now) if more of the updating could happen in the background, then reboot to complete the process. Rather than tying up the box for the duration.

Also, I don't know if the hard drives have an image on them anymore or if they're blank and updated from the flash volume, but in any event the packed-in version should be kept up to date for future manufactured boxes. I've gotten old software with newer manufacture dates before.

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Old 11-06-2013, 05:50 PM   #23
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Unboxed the Roamio earlier this evening, called in the lifetime purchase, now waiting for the Roamio's network update to complete so it recognizes the service.

Interesting observation: in live TV, the current show name is listed as "TiVo Service Unavailable", yet the "Up Next" does list the actual show name for whatever's next. Seems to be an oversight...
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