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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi -

Not so much a question as a memo for the record - I hope I can prevent some other poor soul from going thru the weeks of pain I've just been thru.

I've had a 30 Hour Phillips Tivo for over 4 years. I've been VERY pleased with it. Best $200 I ever spent - hands down. Its hooked to a DAEWOO 27" TV. Ok, not the greatest set in the world, the 36" Sony is in another room - and the kids watch Spongebob on it all their waking hours - hence, dear old Dad (moi) gets the TV in the bedroom. I use High quality - can't tell the difference between High and Best. 14 hours of recording capacity (only complaint I have is that I ONLY have 14 hours). Networked would be "nice".

A few weeks ago - after much prodding from friends with Tivos - I FINALLY broke down and got a 40 Hour Series 2 ($50 after rebate). Fiddled with it evey single night for hours at a time. Less than impressive - the video quality - to be kind - STINKS! It's fuzzy and dark. After some testing with VIDEO Essentials (pumped thru the SAT IN jacks) I can clearly see that the black levels are whacked.

These days, All the good shows are DARK - CSI*, Battlestar Galactica - if the black level is whacked - these shows look like total crap!

PLUS - I can cleary see artifacts at high and I think I'm even seeing artifacts at BEST. This shouldn't be. I figure maybe the box is messed up - and I really want more than 11 hours of record time (If I'm going to be stuck recording at Best).

So, like a real idiot, the 40 goes back to the store and I grab an 80 ($150 after rebate). Same exact thing. Abysmal video. Ok - Maybe I'm crazy - let's hook the old boat anchor back up....

Hook the Series 1 in - GEORGEOUS picture. Sharp - Clear. Shadow details are back. Focus is sharp as a tack! YAY! Ok - it's not me - it's not the cables - it's the Series 2 (both of 'em). Unacceptable.

So now what to do? I would really like to network my Tivo. But- come to think of it - the Tivo-phone-home thing isn't really a problem. We don't notice it. Sharing pix and music is "nice" but hardly a necessity (that's what laptops with Wi-Fi are for).

Decision time -

The 80 hour is going back to the store - I'm going to take the money and buy a BIG drive upgrade from Weaknees and take the wife out for a nice dinner (and still have change). Maybe in a year I'll consider putting in a network interface - but for now Tivo can use the phone.

Bottom line - if you get a Series 2 and the picture quality stinks - it's the box and not you. Take it back. If you can find an old Series 1 - BUY IT!

I sincerely hope TIVO reads this and fixes the problem soon. They have a serious quality control problem with the current crop (crap?) of Series 2's.

You can have my Series 1 - when you pry it from the hands of my cold, rotting corpse.

bd
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Um.... that's sort of the point. After all the crap with the S2's I ended up recognizing the quality of the S1. The old S1 is going to be getting a 145 hour drive.

Typically, the new stuff is better than the old stuff. But not in this case.

bd
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Some further information - the problem I experienced SEEMS to be related to the recent (Sept/Oct 2005) Tivo Series 2 boxes built by HUMAX. I'm finding posts that the HUMAX DVD/Tivos have the same problems.

Prior to the end of 2004, AT&T seems to have been the manufacturer - then Tivo switched to HUMAX. So the ORIGINAL Series 2 seems to be OK - it's the HUMAX (and possibly, only the recent ones) boxes that seem to be in trouble. FYI the model number started with 540.

Just a quick guess - but Tivo/HUMAX is probably trying to get their costs down (selling 40hr boxes for $50 bucks - something has to give). The Encoder / Decoder chips and the video amps are probably the most expesive parts - they are scrimping and it shows.

bd
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have a friend with TWO 540's and he doesn't have any complaints (even on a 54" screen) - but I haven't sat down and looked at it myself - so I can't really verify the picture quality. One of his S2's is like 2 y/o the other is from early 2005.

I got the 120 Gig drive upgrade from weaKnees and just installed it (15 minutes - piece of cake) - my now upgraded S1 is currently Importing Guided Setup data. With 4x the storage I used to have - I'll be a happy camper for a long time.

While the S2's have some nice features (which I enjoyed for all of about 10 days) - the basic functionality isn't any different from an S1 - save the TivoToGo stuff. It would have been "nice" to record some shows to DVD via my PC (or let my kids watch a show on their computers in their rooms occasionally) - that's not enough reason to live with a crummy picture.

Picture quality will always win out in my book.

I will probably try a "new" Tivo again at some point (a year or two) - but I will make sure I have the option to return the box if it doesn't work. Then again - our cable system (or I may switch to a dish) might provide me with a "Tivo-like" box and it will be a moot point.

TIVO (and I hope they read this) better watch out or somebody is going to improve on their brilliant idea and put them right out of business. Being the first to market just isn't enough. Get ahead - STAY AHEAD!

bd
 
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