Most of the geeks I know in San Francisco have Comcast digital cable television, and Comcast's own digital video recorder. The advantages of this DVR are that the service fee is bundled in with the cable bill, and that it displays and records high definition TV. I, however, do not have an HD television, nor am I likely to buy one soon, so to feed my old 27" tube TV, I recently got a new standalone Tivo box.
I've had an old Tivo for a very long time, but I wanted the new Series 2 features (network access, DVD recording, upgradeability, and so on). I picked up the latest Humax DRT800 and set it up in my system.
It's very disappointing.
Like a lot of technology products, the features are all great -- in theory. But the implementation just isn't quite there yet. The user interface is Tivo-simple, for example, but it responds more slowly to the remote control than my old Series 1 Tivo, so navigating the features is a chore. Also, the Tivo/PC integration is not as smooth, or complete, as it should be. I had to dig into my PC's firewall settings to get it to work, and even then, the Tivo Server app that runs on my PC occasionally gobbles up all my computer's processing resources, slowing everything to a crawl. Also, the Tivo music player and photo viewier applications are so basic they're a joke. Say you want to play a track by Yo-yo Ma: You have to navigate through all the artists in the alphabet, page by page (with the new, slower interface), to get to the Y's. There's no shortcut.
It's little things like this that really bug me, and make me want to go back to Tivo Series 1. It only does one thing, but it does it so well.
There is a saving grace to Tivo Series 2: the open-source application called Galleon. It does everything the new Tivo PC and Web apps do, but it does it better. The music organizer works better than Tivo's own; the podcast module is much easier to use; and the PC-side software doesn't kill your PC. I recommend this app to all Series 2 Tivo users that have their Tivo on a home network.