CNET’s Marguerite Reardon on Why Her Cable DVR Stinks

Why my cable DVR stinks | CNET For the life of me, when you read story after story after story about how bad the satellite and cable industries’ home grown DVRs suck and you look at how small the market cap on TiVo is (who everybody loves and who you never hear anything bad about and who I’ve used for the past five years or so and can’t think of ever having a single error with it), why in the world doesn’t one of these smart cable companies just buy the damn thing?

At least Comcast has the good sense to make a deal with them and hopefully their Comcast/TiVo service will be every bit as rock solid as the standalone TiVo service.

And other news, does a DVR boost viewing hours or not, from the New York Times.

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  1. Greg Smith says:

    I went from a DirecTivo to a CableOne DVR and the cable DVR sucks eggs. It goes beyond the craptacular interface, things like sound dropping are rampant. I can’t imagine why this is so hard for them but they clearly don’t take it as seriously as their billing department does when I’m one day late on a payment.

  2. Shazz Mack says:

    Having lived in the USA and experienced TiVo, now living back in Canada … imagine how many times I have to tell people that crap DVRs are NOT TiVos!!! It was announced this year that TiVo was finally ‘legal’ up here, but you still have to purchase boxes stateside. I’ve researched all the cable and dish options here … yuck … I’m waiting for IPtv – my house’s previous owners put a good antenna in the attic and I get enough clear stations for now. … I can’t wait until the cable monopolies are blown away like with the old telcos!

  3. MattP says:

    I whole heartily agree. I living in Kansas City and I’m also an unfortunate Time Warner sufferer. I originally got into the whole DVR world thanks to Time Warner and their SA-8000 DVR. Being my First DVR I put up with the failures it had, forgetting series records, stopping a record about 45 mins in, and a myriad of other more minor issues. Then a friend of mine introduced me to Windows Media Center Edition, and I saw what a truly functional, powerful DVR (among other functions) could do. I couldn’t imagine going back to the TW’s DVR.

    But earlier this year I purchased my first HDTV, a nice 50″ DLP. Since Windows MCE is not able to grab HD content off the Cable line I went ahead an got an HD-DVR from Time Warner, this time it was the SA-8300HD. A new model gave me new hope that the bug from the 8000 might have been ironed out. Unfortunately for me that was not the case. In addition to all the same bug from the 8000, the 8300 decides to drop the surround sound output from time to time. The scheduling software seems to be limited to looking about 2 days into the future, so conflicts seem to come out of nowhere. If no one is home to resolve these previously unknown conflicts it seems to randomly record whatever it wants. It’s just abysmal…

    I still have my MCE box hooked up so I still can schedule standard def shows there. I’m waiting for the Windows Vista version of Media Center, since it supports CableCard, I can hopefully, finally, permanently, rid myself of TimeWarners DVR.

  4. Anonymous says:

    And hopefully comcast Tivo service will be available before we all grow old and die and great grand kids sit around telling how antiquated it now is… but so far that seems pretty unlikely. Cable companies just can’t stop doing roll outs in anything less then 10 year increments, it’s embarrassing slow.

  5. Mike Robinson says:

    I live near Philadelphia and have Comcast. I’ve had the single-tuner Motorola 6208 and now the 6412 dual-tuner unit (the latter for about a year). While I don’t personally have a lot of Tivo experience for comparison, I’m overall very happy with my DVR units.

    The monthly fee seems to be about right, considering wwhat you’d pay to purchase a tivo + a monthly or lifetime subscription. Recently my unit died (black screen, nothing) and I had it replaced in a couple hours – or of course I could have waited a few days/week for Comcast to come on site.

    The only major issue I’ve seemed to have is sometimes the unit seems to “hang” – the TV/sound is fine, but the controls just stack up then you get 10 channel-ups or whatever. Maybe 1-2 times I’ve had an audio issue. But overall, performance was just fine.

    From everything I read it sounds like I’m just lucky. And my cable modem is usually fine too (had Verizon DSL for a while and that sucked so bad I returned it).

    I also have a media center, which is nice, *but* I think the menu interface is really slow in comparison.

    The one thing I can say though is that I’m in favor of competition – Tivo licensing, more open standards, etc. At least then if it were open you’d have a choice. Frankly if the cable companies wanted their $X/month they could find a way to license it.

    My main complaint about cable [companies] is still the overall cost of service.

  6. Mike Robinson says:

    I should add the thing that I wish mostly about opening up things is the innovation. For example, one thing I really like with media center is record-one-place, watch elsewhere. Can’t do that with a cable-co DVR. Can’t really do that with Tivo (you sort of can with home media, but not quite the same.]

    I don’t know if Vista is the media center answer, but I’d love to have a central unit where I could record multiple shows simultaneously, watch live/recorded shows at 3-5 places elsewhere, play DVDs or recorded video/mp3/audio/cd/etc elsewhere.

    And without spending $20K on extra equipment !

  7. Anonymous says:

    My comcast MS enhanced box works fine and does HDTV without any setup.

    Who needs tivo?