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Old 01-09-2008, 07:44 PM   #1
sberube
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My first impressions of the Comcast Tivo implementation

I have never owned a standalone Tivo, but have used one before (Series 2). I have owned a DTivo (Series 2) and enjoyed it greatly. This short review is meant as a comparison of what I like vs dislike of the Comcast Tivo compared to the original Motorola software.

My Specs:
Motorola 3416 using DD Optical and HDMI
Sony KDS60A3000 60inch LCD RPTV
Harmony 880 Remote

Speed:
It appears the original Motorola software is noticably faster than the Tivo software. When browsing the guide and setting up recordings there is a 3-4 second delay (sometimes 5-6 second) when browsing up and down the guide as well as setting up season passes. I hope this is something that can be fixed, it definately affects the general usability of the product. The season pass delay can be lived with, the guide browsing is rather annoying. This speed issue can be seen throughout the rest of the UI such as in the search interface.

Searching:
Finding a show is much better on the Tivo, as most of you know, it searches on the on-demand listings as well. This was one of the first things I tested and I really like it. If wishlist recording is available, I have not tried it yet. *UPDATE* Wishlist recording is available via the 'Find Programs' interface.

Guide Download:
For some reason it seemed the Tivo downloaded the guide faster than the original software. What I've not tested yet is if it survives a reboot or if it needs to redownload it all like the original software did.

Guide:
I like that the Tivo guide shows more shows at once than the Motorola did.
When changing a channel, you have a huge overlay that shows info about the show yhou are looking at. This lasts around 5 seconds and is a bit annoying. Shrinking this or lowering the delay would be great. If this is possibly, I've not found a way to do it yet.

The guide also shows a mini view of the show you are viewing like the Motorola did. I would gladly sacrifice that for speed if it did help make the interface faster.

Recording Shows:
I miss the one touch recording options from the original Motorola software guide. It seems Tivo adds a few unnecessary steps for doing an instant record of a show. I give points to the original software for this one. Perhaps this is an area for improvement.

There is also an option to record the HD show if available, what I wasn't sure on is did it search all channels (the Motorola software had that option). Tivo may be more intelligent than the Motorola software so it may not be needed

*UPDATE* I'm not sure what purpose the Record in HD if available serves since all recordings (season passes) are channel centric. Meaning lets say I setup a Season Pass for Medium but I pick the non-HD channel. I assumed that it would record all mediums it found that were new and if one was in HD it would take that one over the SD channel, but it really seems to be tied into the channel I originally selected the season pass on. Meaning, the Record in HD seems to serve no purpose unless there is some option to record on all channels like the Motorola software had. Any input here ?


Day Fwd/Day Back:
Another feature I miss. The ability when viewing the guide to jump a day ahead and back again. Tivo does offer this by pressing enter and choosing a day, but again, a few unecessary steps. Points to the original software for this one.

30 second skip:
I _REALLY_ miss this, I can live with ffwd, but 30 second skip being gone sucks

Tivo Suggestions:
Already enjoying the tivo suggestions, glad I have it back!

My Dvr/Tivo Recordings:
Obviously love the foldering/grouping of like shows. However I do miss knowing how much space I am using. If this is available please let me know. The settings menu shows how much HDD space you have, but I have no idea how much I'm using.

Menuing:
I read some people wanted HD tivo menus stating the SD ones were too low quality, I'm on a 60" lcd tv and the menus seem fine to me.

Manual Recording:
I haven't found a way to do this with the tivo yet. (record at a specific time on a specific channel) I used to do this for the Friday Stargate Atlantis because on the motorola I'd always get ones I didn't want. It just may be I don't need to do this anymore, I keep checking in on this one.
*Update* This is available via the 'Find Programs' interface.

Settings:
A lot of the Motorola software settings are gone, like screen position, colors, etc. They may not apply or be required anymore, but worth mentioning.


Overall I am happy I switched, my biggest complaint is the speed. I'm on the new 3416 and the slowness really needs to be addressed. I remember my DTivo being faster.

If I were to prioritize the important features/fixes that I (and hopefully others) care about they would be:

Overall interface Speed
30 Second Skip
Day Fwd/back
One Touch Recording
Manual Recording

Other Tivo centric features such as MRV would be great, but I would be willing to wait until some of the core features & issues are addressed. I have a feeling these Tivo centric features we will get nickled and dimed for anyhow.

Thanks for reading

Last edited by sberube : 01-10-2008 at 08:19 AM.
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:58 PM   #2
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Thanks for the report!

Can you let us know if the speed improves in a couple of days? A standalone TiVo keeps the guide data indexed on disk (thus survives reboots), but it takes a day or so to completely construct all the indices on disk. An S3 or TiVoHD is much slower for that day but then the speed improves. It will be interesting to know if the Comcast TiVo is the same.
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:02 PM   #3
sberube
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Will do! The unit got installed around 2pm today and its 8pm now. The general UI navigation, for example accessing Tivo Recordings, is pretty fast now, just guide browsing and searching seem to still be noticable slower.
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:42 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sberube View Post
Guide:
I like that the Tivo guide shows more shows at once than the Motorola did.
When changing a channel, you have a huge overlay that shows info about the show yhou are looking at. This lasts around 5 seconds and is a bit annoying. Shrinking this or lowering the delay would be great. If this is possibly, I've not found a way to do it yet.
If you press the Exit button (above the thumbs down) it will go away immediately.
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Old 01-09-2008, 10:15 PM   #5
BlackBetty
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great review! Thank you!!
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:31 AM   #6
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Got mine installed last week.

I did pull the power plug to test the guide data retention. Boy, is the bootup process screwy. First nothing, then a channel displays on the screen but you can't do anything....then a few minutes later the channel goes away and the Welcome Starting Up screen appears for another 5 minutes or so.

Anyway, I am happy to report that it does look like the guide data is retained. It was all there after the reboot.

Now, if the power is out for a longer amount of time....not sure if it'll stick then.

-Kevin
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Old 01-14-2008, 10:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sberube View Post
There is also an option to record the HD show if available, what I wasn't sure on is did it search all channels (the Motorola software had that option). Tivo may be more intelligent than the Motorola software so it may not be needed

*UPDATE* I'm not sure what purpose the Record in HD if available serves since all recordings (season passes) are channel centric
While I don't have this box (I have DirectTV's Tivo), I have a guess at this:
One use would be in WishLists. I presently need to use two wish-lists in order to have it choose the HD broadcast, but if not in HD, choose a SD broadcast. If this were a global setting (as opposed to show-specific), it could also refer to when it records Suggestions, as it would then default to HD broadcasts on shows you didn't specifically request. I wish I had that option on my Tivo...
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Old 01-15-2008, 10:19 AM   #8
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Nice review! I also have had the Comcast TiVo for a couple of months in addition to my S2 and found many of your points relevant. I think that right now the software on the Comcast Box is a little slower than my S2, but Comcast has stated that will change with upcoming firmware.
They are still working on their box to make it faster and to implement more of the networking features found in the SA TiVo boxes...
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Old 01-16-2008, 10:06 AM   #9
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Just got this yesterday

Can't believe it was finally released. All in all it is pretty good. I think they did a good job implementing many of the features that make a DVR feel like a tivo.

I also noticed that the program guide is really slow, hopefully it will improve over time.

I had to pay about $20 to have a technician come and install it. You might want to wait until it is released without scheduling a visit.
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Old 01-19-2008, 02:16 PM   #10
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Thumbs down Not Ready for Prime-Time

I had TIVO installed yesterday; and my first impressions are: AWFUL.


I used TIVO several years ago with DirecTV, and the speed and navigation was MUCH better - and this was several years ago.

I am using the "new" Motorola DCT-3416 box (my other DVR box wouldn't complete the software download for some unknown reason).

Some complaints:

1. Menu system is INCREDIBLY slow. Laughably slow, given that it is 2008 - and my DirecTV Tivo box from 2003 was 3x faster.

2. Audio does NOT output in Dolby, even though settings indicate it should be.

3. Filter to show HD channels in guide does NOT work. Only shows some random OnDemand channels and a couple of HD channels.


Amazing to me that it took Comcast 2+ years to come out with this; and it is half-baked, at best.
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Old 01-19-2008, 02:20 PM   #11
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Uh, TiVo "came out with this" -- Comcast is only distributing it. If you simply must assign blame, then I think TiVo gets the vast majority of it, with perhaps a dishonorable mention to Motorola, since they made the hardware and wrote the firmware. Comcast basically just paid for it.
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Old 01-19-2008, 04:50 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mannlister View Post
I had TIVO installed yesterday; and my first impressions are: AWFUL.


I used TIVO several years ago with DirecTV, and the speed and navigation was MUCH better - and this was several years ago.

I am using the "new" Motorola DCT-3416 box (my other DVR box wouldn't complete the software download for some unknown reason).

Some complaints:

1. Menu system is INCREDIBLY slow. Laughably slow, given that it is 2008 - and my DirecTV Tivo box from 2003 was 3x faster.

2. Audio does NOT output in Dolby, even though settings indicate it should be.

3. Filter to show HD channels in guide does NOT work. Only shows some random OnDemand channels and a couple of HD channels.


Amazing to me that it took Comcast 2+ years to come out with this; and it is half-baked, at best.

Early adopters always pay the price. I bet within 1-2 months all 3 of your issues will be hammered out with a software upgrade. Comcast Rep has already said that they are aware of the issues and that they and TiVo are working hard on getting them fixed and sending out a software update within weeks.
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Old 01-21-2008, 02:43 PM   #13
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No red LED's

I was scheduled for installation on Saturday afternoon, Tivo upgrade on my DCT3416. Download failed on that as well as on the DCH3416 that the tech swapped it out for. Sunday another tech showed up and he swapped it out for another DCH3416. Seemed to be errors as it downloaded but eventually the Tivo software was installed. Total time over 2 days was about 6 hours.

It is a relief to have the new software, a little slow and not as polished as my series 3, but still feels and acts like a Tivo!

I notice that the front panel shows no indication (red LED's) of a recording in process. Has anyone noticed this problem?

It is recording and playing back but it would be nice to have a visual indication of the status. I saw the red LED's on before the new software was installed but now nothing.

Thanks for any info you may have!


Rick
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:03 PM   #14
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Yes, the red LED issue is known and reported.
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Old 01-21-2008, 03:31 PM   #15
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Yes, the red LED issue is known and reported.
Thanks Bicker!

My installation was long and difficult but the techs were pleasant enough, although frustrated.
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Old 01-21-2008, 04:14 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtudisco View Post
I was scheduled for installation on Saturday afternoon, Tivo upgrade on my DCT3416. Download failed on that as well as on the DCH3416 that the tech swapped it out for. Sunday another tech showed up and he swapped it out for another DCH3416. Seemed to be errors as it downloaded but eventually the Tivo software was installed. Total time over 2 days was about 6 hours.
Do you know if they checked signal strength during this? That seems like a more likely reason for failed downloads than bad boxes.
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Old 01-21-2008, 04:42 PM   #17
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Is it confirmed that there is no 30 second skip? That's horrible and would be a deal breaker for me. Has C addressed this?
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Old 01-21-2008, 04:54 PM   #18
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Is it confirmed that there is no 30 second skip? That's horrible and would be a deal breaker for me. Has C addressed this?
as of right now there is no 30 second skip (not sure if there is a backdoor code that can activate it). Give it a couple of months and see if it is added. Seems like a lot of folks want it.
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Old 01-21-2008, 05:14 PM   #19
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Do you know if they checked signal strength during this? That seems like a more likely reason for failed downloads than bad boxes.
Yes, they did check signal strength and said it was fine. Also only one splitter and no filters.

I agree though, I don't think it was the boxes though. Maybe the timing of the downloads and Sunday AM the system was less busy?
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:16 PM   #20
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Hmmm, I see the red light on my DCT3416 right now. I had not heard of this issue before.
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:37 PM   #21
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Hmmm, I see the red light on my DCT3416 right now. I had not heard of this issue before.
Known issue with the DCH boxes. Firmware 18.34 I believe.

This is why I still keep my DCT-6412. Sure it's slower, and I'm out an extra 40GB of recording space, but at least it works, including the record lights.
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:56 PM   #22
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Yes, the red LED issue is known and reported.
just to add a bit, with the DCH-3416 you currently don't get the red record light with either iGuide or the Tivo software.
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Old 01-22-2008, 07:34 PM   #23
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Are there different versions of the guide?

On DirecTiVos the grid style guide is very slow, but the original TiVo style (list view?) is pretty quick.
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:50 PM   #24
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Just got mine today.

Had a problem where almost any interaction via remote or buttons caused my Onkyo to overload and shut off. I unplugged my Onkyo, switched from component to HDMI, and it has not had the problem again.

Is it really true no Dolby? That really sucks if true. I switched between HDMI and DIgital Audio and saw (heard) no difference. Is it a SW upgrade away?
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Old 01-23-2008, 07:43 AM   #25
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Is it a SW upgrade away?
yes, comcast rep on the avs forums has stated that it will be fixed in a software update within weeks.
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Old 01-24-2008, 07:58 PM   #26
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I too am very unhappy with the slowness of the DCH3416 with the TiVo software.

I have had a Tivo S2 for years, and hoped the Moto would have similar performance, but it does not, it's much slower.

I'm looking into the TiVo S3: does it have any issues with responsiveness? How does one go about getting CableCards from Comcast?
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Old 01-24-2008, 11:02 PM   #27
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as of right now there is no 30 second skip (not sure if there is a backdoor code that can activate it). Give it a couple of months and see if it is added. Seems like a lot of folks want it.

So you mean the normal select-play-select-3-0-select trick doesn't work?
(I saw an online picture of the Tivo/comcast remote, and I think it had all of the 'normal' Tivo buttons, plus some very very strange comcast buttons.. like a STOP button.. ARGH)
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:03 AM   #28
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So you mean the normal select-play-select-3-0-select trick doesn't work?
(I saw an online picture of the Tivo/comcast remote, and I think it had all of the 'normal' Tivo buttons, plus some very very strange comcast buttons.. like a STOP button.. ARGH)
Yeah, I didn't quite like the STOP button either -- but I think its necessary for OnDemand.
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Old 01-25-2008, 08:20 AM   #29
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So you mean the normal select-play-select-3-0-select trick doesn't work?
Correct, it does NOT work.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mattack View Post
(I saw an online picture of the Tivo/comcast remote, and I think it had all of the 'normal' Tivo buttons, plus some very very strange comcast buttons.. like a STOP button.. ARGH)
The STOP button might be strange, but it isn't annoying, because it's on the lower half of the remote

The "On Demand" button is annoying - it is in the upper half of the remote, right under the Select button, so it's easy to accidentally hit "On Demand" when you are trying to use "Select", and getting in and out of "On Demand" takes several seconds.

It also has the Comcast A B C D buttons, but the TiVo software puts them to good use in certain places, so they are a net positive.

One thing is I can't figure out how to program the TiVo remote to shut off my AVR. It has a "TV Power" button, but no instructions to get that button to also send the code to my AVR.
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Old 01-25-2008, 09:10 AM   #30
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I'm looking into the TiVo S3: does it have any issues with responsiveness? How does one go about getting CableCards from Comcast?
Hey Naugahide,

I have the Series3 and the Comcast TiVo.

The Series3 does not have the same lag issues that I see on the Comcast unit.

There are lags for some tasks on the Series3 (like re-arranging season passes, swivel search, HME-related apps, etc.) but none in the normal day-to-day interface.

I use the TiVo guide (not the grid guide) on my Series3, I seem to recall the grid guide on the Series3 was a bit laggy sometimes. The TiVo guide is perfect (for me).

Cable Cards: Just call Comcast and tell them you want TWO cable cards for a TiVo Series3. They'll send out a techie to do the install.
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