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TiVoToGo: First Impressions

My grand first impression of TiVoToGo: Great, but it's not TiVo.

TiVo is, above all things, a UI for watching TV: predictive fast forwarding, a great remote, simple menus, saving your paused location, etc...

TiVoToGo, on the other hand, is a mechanism for transferring recordings of TV shows onto your laptop. There is no TiVo UI. In every way, shape, and form, it reminds you that you are using a Windows PC, from the look-and-feel of the application, to the fact that the movies are played using Windows Media Player; you are made aware that each TV recording is a file on disk, and the TiVo program even lets you know up front how large these files are. Most annoyingly, in keeping with the Windows PC experience, there is even a window that pops up that asks you for your password everytime you want to play a show.

It's not that I won't like TiVoToGo; I am quite certain that I will enjoy it very much. In addition to being able to time-shift, I am now able to space-shift my TV watching. I don't have to worry about clearing off my TiVo some random night because it's running out of space. I can even shift recordings that I have been saving for a long time over to my PC for long-term storage.

I am disappointed, though, because without the TiVo "experience," it doesn't stack up very well against the alternatives. If I download the TV shows off of BitTorrent (getting a little harder to find a site that hasn't been taken down these days...), I have these advantages: * higher video quality at much smaller file size * quicker transfer speeds (I can use my faster 802.11g connection, instead of the 802.11b connection that TiVo requires for wireless) * no annoying password prompt * can store recordings anywhere, rather than just in My Documents\My TiVo Recordings

There are some disadvantages, such as having to try harder to track down less popular recordings, or the occassional super-slow BitTorrent download, or not having the list of recordings already narrowed down to those that you've selected on your TiVo, but if I am going to have a "Windows PC experience" rather than the "TiVo experience," I'd like to at least get control and versatility: there are already several recordings that I was going to transfer to my desktop that I nixed because it would be more efficient to just get them off BitTorrent.

It's sad to think that Microsoft's own Media Center probably wipes the floor with TiVo when it comes to PC playback.

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This page contains a single entry from kwc blog posted on January 25, 2005 12:57 AM.

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