Poor First Impressions for TiVoToGo
TiVotoGo cartoon ummm.. borrowed… courtesy of Blogography.com
Well the first impressions of TiVo to Go are starting to roll in and the first few that I’ve seen seem to be pretty negative.
First there is the post, “TiVo to Go, First Impressions” over at Obvious Diversion. Christian Gloddy points to the serious mistake for TiVo to build their wireless transfer around 802.11b technology rather than 802.11g and writes, “In short, TivoToGo isnt really usable for me unless I seriously plan ahead or until Tivo adds support for 802.11g adapters. This is disappointing to say the least as I had been waiting for this feature for some time. Im surprised Tivo didnt make sure to support at least one faster adapter in anticipation of TiVoToGo.” According to Gloddy it would take about 5 hours to transfer a one hour photo via wi-fi with the new service.
Next we have Rob Pegoraro’s write up in the Washington Post, “Recordings Made Way Too Hard to Go.” Pegoraro writes, “TiVoToGo quickly runs aground because its developers made one small and one huge mistake. First, their failure to build in a fast, convenient way for TiVo boxes to connect directly to PCs forces a slow, sometimes glitchy transfer of movies over a home network. Second, their attempts to placate movie studios by imposing strict copy controls make this system complicated to set up and irritating to use.” Ouch!
Frank Bajak reviews TiVotoGo for AP and points out that it is pretty nice that TiVo to go is free and offers a more mixed write up with more positives thrown in. His consensus boils down to: “The good news: The service doesn’t add a penny to TiVo Inc.’s $13 monthly subscription charge. The bad news: It’s only about half of what I’d hoped for.”
Bajak also points out that Microsoft, through their Media Center Edition software already have a leg up on TiVo. “It’s worth noting that PCs running Microsoft Corp.’s ever-improving Windows Media Center operating system and Media Center Extender boxes already have a leg up on TiVo when it comes to video transfer and picture quality.”
This is one thing that I’ve heard very little on. Despite all of the TiVotoGo hype, I have actually been doing the exact same thing with Media Center since October 2002 without any kind of controls, passwords, DRM or other protection. It’s as simple as recording a show in MCE and then copying the file to my laptop via my network for viewing remotely.
Dave Simmer, over at Blogography is perhaps one of the harshest critics and actually compares the TiVotoGo service to the old antiquated VCR and points to four reasons why a VCR is better than TiVotoGo, ”
1. Some shows can be tagged as non-transferable, such as pay-per-view and some premium programming, meaning you can’t watch them on your computer at all (whereas a videotape can record anything).
2. All video requires a “media key” to be unencrypted. This is to prohibit sharing the content, and doing so may result in your account being revoked (whereas a videotape requires no such bullshit).
3. The video is not in a standard format and requires special software to operate… currently only available for Windows 2000 or Windows XP (whereas a videotape will work on any VCR without special conditions).
4. The TiVoToGo service will only work from specific players, meaning those of us with DirecTV boxes that have TiVo built-in or multiple tuners are shit-out-of-luck (whereas a VCR is a VCR is a VCR).”
I happen to especially agree with his point on number four. As the owner of two unsupported TiVotoGo units, an old Series One model and a current DirecTV HDTV model, I find it questionable that TiVo would choose to spend the last year working on something that works for less than half of their users at the expense of developing other things (like a dual tuner standalone TiVo for instance).
The cartoon above was lifted courtesy of Dave’s site at Blogoraphy.com.
Update: Gartenberg addresses the issue here.