Sezmi UI >>>>>>> Tivo UI

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by tombonneau, Feb 24, 2011.

  1. tombonneau

    tombonneau New Member

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    So I had been browsing for Tivo Premiere's on Amazon and elsewhere as I was considering upgrading from my HD. Anyway, Amazon sends me a nice targeted email because I was browsing DVRs and I end up clicking on a link for Sezmi (which I had never heard of until this morning):

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00400NU5S/ref=pe_71030_18959370_pe_vfe_d3

    This was pretty good timing, as I'd been thinking of cutting the cord, but the inability to get good reception on FOX & ABC was holding me back.

    So, I spend part of my day reading reviews, etc. Basically, the box right now amounts to a DVR for OTA, something I was considering using the Tivo when/if I canceled my TWC.

    Well, on the way home from work, I stop by Best Buy and am impressed enough with the demo in the store that I buy the unit, figuring I'll give it a shot, but likely will return it and stick with Tivo.

    Here's my immediate feedback after a night of playing with the Sezmi: The HD UI is so light years ahead of where Tivo is that it is embarrassing for Tivo. Honestly, it is.

    It looks better, is more responsive, just overall so far superior. The guide system makes a ton more sense (you shift between time & channel view), there is a history button that pops up the last 5-6 shows you were watching, they allow you to create custom user profiles for each person using it. You can have a custom background skin. You can just hit a search button to bring up search and choose what you want to search.

    Overall, just came away really impressed with this unit, but really more disappointed in Tivo. Here is this little startup with more innovative UI in a few years development than Tivo has mustered in the last decade.

    Not to say that this unit is faultless. Far from it. Firstly, you have to be committed to going OTA, obviously. Secondly, it's louder. There is some chop, audio & video to the OTA signal, though about as much as what I got through my Tivo.

    The remote is an absolute disaster. While I like that they are thinking outside the box (no numbers, and I haven't even noticed they are missing) but it takes awhile to adapt to their system. And the layout is just dreadful.

    And there is no ranking of season passes that I can see of, though their conflict resolution is more elegant than Tivos (I had two season passes for 8pm tomorrow and tested what would happen if I added another recording - it simply gave me the option of which of the 3 I wanted to cancel; we'll see what happens when a random conflict pops up).

    Oh, and it appears the menu guide only goes out about a week, which is lame.

    Anyway, just wanted to throw this post out there. I hadn't heard anything about Sezmi until today, and there is very little posted on this forum about them. I could go into more details of pros/cons of this box if there is some interest.

    I've got 30 days before I need to return to BB, so I'm gonna give it another week or so, but the $5/mo fee is nothing and $150 for a 1TB box is a song. I'd highly suggest anyone considering going OTA or someone already using Tivo for OTA check this box out.
     
  2. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    Sezmi just layed off hundreds of people. Not a good sign. Also, I believe Sezmi just recently ceased its higher tier of service offering a few "cable" channels for about $19 per month (ghastly PQ reported using OTA mult-plexed close to the public, and ONLY available in the LA area). NOT another good sign.

    I liked the idea of their product and far lower monthly service fee for just OTA's compared to TiVo. It seems however, that their model isn't destined for success. DVR's are expensive to manufacture and even with the recent defections, OTA only is still a very tiny sliver of the pie/market.

    It doesn't look like Sezmi will ever hit critical mass to be successful. That's too bad because competition is great, and right now TiVo has very little (Channel Master's OTA only DVR) competition in the OTA only realm.

    As much as I would love Sezmi to be successful, don't count on it. Considering the relativity low cost of the Sezmi system, you could continue to use until they go out of business, but how long or soon that is, who knows?

    Let us know what happens.
     
  3. tombonneau

    tombonneau New Member

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    I know they secured another $17m in funding in 4Q10 so that should keep them afloat a few more years. Also, sounds like their business model is shifting some towards oversea market which makes sense for them.

    In reading up on it, the cable portion of their service sounded like a pipe dream destined for failure. The ota only DVD could find an audience if the cord cutting concept takes off in the next few years, which is feasible as the younger generation starts graduating from college.

    He'll I'm 34 and my cable bill isn't exactly taxing my pocketbook, yet I'm seriously considering giving it up. Back to the future and all that. :)
     
  4. jrm01

    jrm01 New Member

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    I just checked it out and it said that service is not available in my area yet. If it is just OTA that seems strange that there would be limited areas.
     
  5. tombonneau

    tombonneau New Member

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    That could be carry over from their old cable plus tier that they haven't sorted out yet. Also, there is on demand content that obviously is getting pushed through your cable modem so maybe location is dependent on your cable/ISP. Regardless, you're right you should be able to get ota, guide info and basic Internet (ie YouTube) anywhere with high speed. If you're truly interested id call and inquire how much location really matters at this point.
     
  6. deandashl

    deandashl New Member

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    Cable channels were a pipe dream.

    I heard about them just before they started. The idea sounded GREAT. But it didn't take long to realize it wasn't going to work.


    On the other hand, it sounds like the basics for a OTA DVR are there. Seems maybe they were shooting a little too high. Instead of trying to use extra bandwidth for cable channels, they should have focused on downloads.

    A TiVo, with an ACTUAL HDUI, OTA tuners and Netflix,etc. for $4.99/month. Now THAT'S something.
     
  7. tombonneau

    tombonneau New Member

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    I'll be real interested to see if they can get NF, Hulu, et al on the box. I already have a Roku so it's a non-factor for me, but out of all the boxes I've played with, this seems the closest to an evolution of the set top box that merges internet with TV. Just the concept of it that when you turn it on you aren't even really on TV you are on your home page and choose what you want to do is a step in the right direction.
     
  8. aaroncgi

    aaroncgi New Member

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    I wonder if the Sezmi's OTA tuner is better than that in the Premiere?

    Either way, assuming Sezmi doesn't disappear within the next year or two, this does appear to be a great alternative to Tivo for those wanting only OTA local channels. You would have to own a Premiere for over nine years to beat the cost of Sezmi at $149 + $5 per month.


    The only real reason we didn't go with it last year was because the Tivo also offered Netflix, which we love. But if we already had another device that could access Netflix, this would be pretty much a no-brainer, especially with the much larger hard drive in the Sezmi (vs. the regular Premiere). Sure, it's nice the the Tivo lets you transfer files to/from the computer, and view photos and MP3 from your network, but honestly we don't use those features. The only extra feature we use above the DVR is Netflix.
     
  9. tombonneau

    tombonneau New Member

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    Mar 26, 2009
    I've been A/B testing the PQ on my Kuro flipping between the Tivo & Sezmi on OTA feeds, and if anything the Sezmi is slightly better. The reception is certainly better, but I attribute that to the Sezmi antenna > than RCA antenna I'm using with the Tivo. I could probably drop $80-100 on an antenna to hook up to my Tivo and improve reception for my OTA.

    I have a Roku for NF, Hulu, ,etc. which fulfills my Internet video needs. Unless I find a fatal flaw with the Sezmi (and this morning turning on to the input channel it appears the until fell asleep or something? So who knows what pitfalls lie ahead ....) I might pull the plug on cable & Tivo ....
     
  10. aaroncgi

    aaroncgi New Member

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    Well it looks like my Dad is convinced to give the Sezmi a try - and who can blame him at $149 + $5 a month, vs $299 + $399 lifetime or $99 + $19.95 per month - for about 1/3 the storage space. I'll be very interested to see how the menus and general operation are compared to the Premiere. Interesting fact, $399 lifetime Tivo service equates to 6 years and 7 months of Sezmi service.

    Honestly I don't understand why the Tivo box itself is so expensive. Yes, I know in essence it's more computer than VCR, but seriously? It doesn't have but one drive, and a small/slow one at that. Then it has a main board with a low end processor (oh sorry, dual core, one of which isn't used), a tiny power supply (after all it only uses 24W), and a case that can't be worth more than a few bucks. How is Sezmi selling something with the same capability and the same size drive as a PremiereXL for $149 instead of $499? Surely they can't be making up the loss on hardware with the $5/month subscription!

    Is it really that much more expensive from a hardware standpoint for the Tivo to receive cable channels, vs OTA only as the Sezmi? Were cable-ready TVs and VCRs grossly more expensive than non-cable-ready, back in the day?
     
  11. aaroncgi

    aaroncgi New Member

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    Apr 13, 2010
    Is your signal solid on both the Sezmi and Premiere? If so, a different antenna isn't going to give you better picture quality from the Tivo. If a digital broadcast is solid (ie no pixelization, freezing, dropouts, blank frames, etc), then any differences in picture quality will be due to how the signal is treated after it's received. I would certainly not expect there to be major differences between the two with solid signals on both. But, there could be some minor differences, especially depending on how you output the signal to your TV (composite vs component vs HDMI). I'd expect the least differences to be present using HDMI.

    Now if the signal is solid on the Sezmi but has problems on the Tivo then yes, a better antenna may help get stable reception.
     
  12. tombonneau

    tombonneau New Member

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    Mar 26, 2009
    Tivo issues were with problem channels having lots of artifacts and pixelizations if they were received at all. Funny thing is I actually improved Tivo OTA by running my antenna into my Monster power conditioner and I was then able to pick up Fox which previously was impossible.

    I'll try swapping out the Sezmi antenna with the RCA on my Tivo tonight and see what happens. That should tell us if it's a Tivo or antenna issue.

    But like I said, no worries at all with the Sezmi antenna. There is some minor stutter and audio, but honestly I'm so used to that with my OTA and some cable it's tolerable. I guess it was a much bigger issue with Sezmi in beta but they seem to have improved it.

    One thing I'll say about Sezmi is it seems they are active in improving and development. They also are very active and responsive on FB & Twitter, which is a small thing but says a lot about a company that size that they are smart enough to pay attention to users that way.
     
  13. MrSkippy53

    MrSkippy53 New Member

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    Jan 27, 2011
    There monthly service is what I would like to see for TIvo. Maybe there next gen will have a IR "blaster" and video in so it could be used like the S2 TiVos and a cable/sat box.
     
  14. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    Does it have padding that you can put on the equivalent of season passes?

    I presume nothing like wish lists?

    or sending recordings to a computer?

    I'm not nitpicking, just listing things that I think are important, though I've only started doing the latter relatively recently.
     
  15. tombonneau

    tombonneau New Member

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    Mar 26, 2009
    No wish lists, but honestly with 1TB and the fact that you program your interests, it records a ton of stuff and can't imagine it will miss much.

    As far as season passes, yes it allows you to pad front and back end like TiVo. Unlike TiVo, it also let's you keep as much of a show as you want. So like for Seinfeld, I set no limit and will basically just fill it up with dozens of shows and pick and choose what I want when I feel like watching it.

    And finally no there is no way I saw of moving eps from the unit to your computer. Though I think I saw a USB spot on the back maybe you can transfer to that? I'm probably wrong on that.
     
  16. Series3Sub

    Series3Sub Well-Known Member

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    The problem for Sezmi is that OTA only people are VERY few and not likely to gain the critical mass because, like it or not, guys have to have tier ESPN, ladies thier Lifetime, and the kids theri Disney with Hannah Montana or the next Disney star, oh and the teen thier MTV for Jersey Shore. That is the majority: the American Family. I know those who prefer OTA only, and they don't have pay TV at all and don't fancy DVR's, but even if they did, they are a small anachronistic sliver who barely use the internet at all and don't even have cell phone, let alone a smart phone. Bless their hearts, but they aren't the masses. And while Opera has exponentially more value than the pop music of today, it is Justin Bebeir who rules the airwaves, not Placido. Sad but true, and the fine people who have the good sense to save their money and refuse to pay for sat or cable or telco TV, and would consider a Sezmi aren't going to make a difference for Sezmi, just as TiVo is losing subscribers. The growth is at DirecTV and some of the Telcos, NOT OTA only DVR options. Those folks really do live in another era and our ignored because their numbers are so few.

    I do love Sezmi's design for multiple users and LOVE their reasonable fee, but, like the vast majority of households, mine demans Lifetime, WE, History, National Geographic, etc.

    Finally, is the Sezmi DVR still buggy as early reports made clear. I hope they can clean it up, but an infusion of $17 million doesn't meant they will be around next quarter, as investors can cut their losses or exec can take the a big piece of the $17 and parachute out. The have to sell mega-big-time to make through even the next 2 quarters.
     
  17. tombonneau

    tombonneau New Member

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    Mar 26, 2009
    You're definitely right about the masses, especially family households. They've been hooked on cable and it will be hard to ween them off. Sezmi's only hope is the up and coming Internet generation. As these kids start getting out of college and moving into apartments, a much lower percentage of them will be taking on a cable bill out of the gate. If Sezmi can capture a niche of this market, they might be ok. Of course, this will require lots of marketing efforts, and considering I'm a pretty tech savvy person (and one who has been mulling cord cutting for awhile) and I didn't know about them until Amazon sent me a targeted email, well, let's just say they are not exactly a top of mind brand.
     
  18. brettatk

    brettatk Thread Killer

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    Powder...
    Just curious, but if I'm already using my Tivo HD for OTA why would I want to check this box out? I mean I could understand someone not owning a tivo and wanting to go OTA, but it seems like my Tivo HD is superior in every way. Or were you talking specifically about the Tivo Premiere and the poor OTA reception that some are reporting?

    We went 100% OTA last summer and haven't had any trouble. My two girls (ages 4 and 6) have so many shows stored on their S2 tivo they still haven't watch them all. We get several PBS channels OTA so they still have plenty to watch. I don't think it's as hard as some people try and make it out to be.
     
  19. daveak

    daveak Series 3 Novice

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    Now now, we are an OTA family and we have smart phones, a Series 3 (original) TiVo, NetFLix Streaming, Amazon downloading, Boxee, NookColor, Zune, laptops, netbook, and a raid storage device - we use the internet quite extensively. It is precisely because of our technical prowess and ability that we find we have no need to pay upwards of a $1000 a year for cable or sat, to get the depth and breadth of programming we need and want as a family. All our viewing devices are part of our N+1 network (a couple devices wired) and we can enjoy a networked HD experience anywhere inside our home. I cannot imagine being cabled (or chained) to just a couple TVs around the house that can't even send programming back and forth, let alone not being able to connect to the internet for additional programming - as needed or required. Most cable and sat setups seem so dated when I see them, and can't even perform basic network functions that allow people the freedom to access nearly any show or movie they want - at any time they want (or place). Imagine having to wait until your cable or sat provider serves you the content, so old fashioned. ;)
     
  20. tombonneau

    tombonneau New Member

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    Mar 26, 2009
    I have a Tivo HD, and it's not superior for OTA given my limited experience with Sezmi. What you'd be getting over Tivo is:

    • 1 TB
    • Better UI
    • User profiles to customize shows listed, channels listed, background
    • Better YouTube integration
    • Easy OnDemand access (though I don't use this)
    • Less money at $5mo. (unless you are Tivo Lifetime)
    • Active development and updates
    • Potentially better reception with Sezmi antenna (this was case for me, obviously not for everyone)

    Now of course there are areas where Tivo is superior.

    • Quieter
    • You already own a Tivo :)
    • More internet options
    • Much much better remote (Sezmi's is miserable)
    • You know Tivo isn't going anywhere; Sezmi is a roll of the dice

    If you're happy with your Tivo HD and OTA of course then don't bother. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. But if you are frustrated at Tivo's lack of development, and half-baked HD UI and feel like giving another guy a shot, this box is worth a look. Also doesn't hurt if you are a gadget lover (like me) and like to play with new toys. Not everyone enjoys that learning curve and trying new things though and I get that.

    But it's really more about the UI and user experience than anything. I just have really taken to Sezmi's guide and setup (and I can't even take advantage of the multiple house member profiles, which probably work great), they really took the time to develop it from the ground up and just weren't reskinning the same old Tivo/DVR experience, and I for one appreciate that.

    All this being said, I'm still not sold on them. I'm more worried about them shuttering than anything else.
     

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