The TiVo remote control takes some getting used to. I was surprised that the volume control did not work. I pressed the volume up button and nothing happened. Eventually I found instructions which explained that the volume buttons on the remote control did not control the TiVo at all. Instead they control your home theatre system. I selected my brand of home theatre amplifier and then entered a code into the remote control. This then mimics the control for my amplifier. It works very well and saves the usual confusion where you adjust the STB volume one way and try and compensate with the amplifier.
There is also a TV Power button on the remote control intended to turn the TV on and off. My 24" Dell 2405FPW monitor has no remote control, so I entered the code for the amplifier, and can now turn it on and off remotely. However, there is a problem that there appears to be no way to turn the TiVo off. With a normal set top box I would push the off button to put it into standby mode. This then cuts the video signal to the screen which switches to standby mode. But the TiVo is always showing an image and I have to manually turn the monitor off.Some adjustment was needed for the image resolution. By default the box seems to come set for standard definition TV: 576i video. Native mode is recommended, where the screen switches to a higher resolution, if that is being broadcast. But I found that while my monitor can display the maximum 1080i High Definition resolution, it takes a second or so to change, with annoying flashing in between. So I set the TiVo to always display 1080i (it converts up as necessary). This may not be ideal and as there really isn't any perceivable difference between SD and HD from across the room and no extra HD content, so I might opt for setting everything to SD.
Another setting I changed was to turn off all the lights on the TiVo's front panel. These were useful when setting it up but are distracting (looking like the panel on a 60's record player). Perhaps I will turn them back on when having unwelcome guests staying on my sofa bed. ;-)
The fan in the TiVo is not audible, but the disk drive can be heard within a metre or two when it is recording programs. This is not a problem when sitting accross the room.
Some of the terms used in the TiVo interface are a little confusing. For example, I assumed the "Now Showing" menu option displayed live TV (as it is "now showing"), but it is actually the list of what has been recorded (ie: "not now showing").
The text in the on screen program guide is not easily read from accross the room. This may not be a problem if you have a very large screen or very good eyesight, but the population is getting older and a large text option would be useful.
The "thumbs up and "thumbs down" buttons on the remote are clever and seem to work well: you use these to indicate programs you like or dislike to help the TiVo decide what to record.
The "season pass" feature will take some getting used to: it records all episodes of a show automatically, but there are a lot of options to set.
The "wish list" also looks interesting, where you can select programs or genres and request they be recorded. But so far the system has been able to find very little to suit my tastes. When the Olympics start on two channels, there is going to be even less worth watching.
But after only one day, the TiVo is starting to seem the obvious and natural way to watch TV. It seems obvious that you should be able to push a button to record a program, with the system knowing when to stop, and to record later episodes if you want. It also seems obvious for the system to record something you might want to watch if it is not doing anything else useful at the time.
Some problems are not really the TiVos fault. I had assumed I could simply select the HD versions of each station's programs. But I found that the ABC news was missing from ABC 1 HD, with just music and a weather map instead. So I locked out the HD channel and am using the SD one instead. Also Win TV HD started displaying music and scenery, in place of normal programs, so I locked that one out as well.
One thing I am wondering is if the TiVo (or its guide authors) are smart enough to record the SD version of a program, if the HD version is not available. The decision to introduce HD to Australia, in place of additional content, was not a good one, but that can't be blamed on the TiVo; it was done by government at the request of the existing TV stations.
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