Posts Tagged Tivo

Netflix WatchTiVo Crash Instantly

Ever since I switched back to Netflix and started using the Watch Instantly feature on my TiVo, the TiVo has been noticeably less stable. The problems didn’t manifest right away; rather, it wasn’t until my kids and I had a chance to get addicted to the service that issues started to crop up.

At first, it was just that the Netflix functionality would stop working and I would have to reboot to fix it. Soon after, however, I also started experiencing occasional spontaneous TiVo reboots or other problems that led me to manually rebooting it. Additionally, reboots started to become less reliable — that is, the system would appear to not finish booting and I would unplug it to give it another go. Sometimes I would have to unplug it two or three times before it finally booted correctly.

A bit of Google investigation revealed that others have been having trouble since enabling the Netflix functionality, and that some have even been unable to get the system to boot at all. Luckily, I haven’t run into that show-stopper yet, but I’m certainly hesitant to use the Netflix feature now (on the TiVo, that is — works fine on my Mac).

On Wednesday evening, I turned on the TV to find the TiVo rebooting. Forty minutes and two or three additional reboots later and I finally had it up and running again ten minutes after prime time started. Luckily, the ten minutes missed of the two recordings didn’t really matter as they weren’t real shows (American Idol Auditions and Lost recap), so no big loss.

I’m not sure I’ll be using the Netflix Watch Instantly service on my TiVo again any time soon.

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True Blood

I’ve been reading Charlaine Harris‘ Southern Vampire novels over the past year and found them reasonably entertaining. Since I got rid of cable, I cannot watch HBO’s new show, True Blood, based on these novels. The other night while I was at Blockbuster I found that they had the first episode of True Blood¬†available as a free rental. Naturally I took it — that way I’d know whether it was really worth the bother of watching the series once it become available to me (in a legitimate way).

Well, I got around to watching it tonight and I loved it! Subsequently, I found that it is also available for free on iTunes — at least I didn’t pay for the rental. I’m pretty resistant to iTunes TV episode prices, but I’d probably pay for this show, along with Showtime’s Weeds and Californication, if they were made available as they aired or shortly thereafter, rather than once the DVD was released (at that point, I’ll just get it from Blockbuster Online or Netflix).

Am I unique in being unsatisfied by the pricing and delivery models currently being offered for TV shows? Paying as much as or more than a DVD set for iTunes downloads when the DVD is already out seems silly. Likewise, paying $2 or $3 (HD) for a show I can watch for free from one of the broadcast networks makes little sense to me. Admittedly, I do have to pay for my TiVo service, but that amortizes out to way less per show.

Perhaps the problem is that there’s no room in the pricing model for renting TV episodes. I haven’t bought into the idea of owning TV shows, so that portion of the value isn’t really a factor for me. I think I might be willing to pay $1 per episode to just rent it, but more than that just doesn’t seem worthwhile to me, at least not for broadcast shows — I’d probably be willing to pay more for shows from premium stations. As I already observed, I’d likely fork over the $2 (maybe even $3 for HD) for certain shows.

Something else that would make the whole situation more palatable would be if I could go ahead and pay the prices that are currently being charged but in doing so I would also received the DVD (or Blu-Ray for HD prices) version once it was released.

HBO and Showtime just need to let me subscribe via the Internet.

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Problems with FOX HD Broadcast

As I mentioned in previous comments, I got rid of cable TV last September and have been recording HD local broadcasts since then. Basically a full TV season has gone by since then and I have no regrets. However, over the last couple of months I’ve had varying degrees of problems with the reception of FOX.

The severity of the problem varies from nothing, to a bit of video corruption (horizontal rectangular strips across various parts of the picture that are clearly not correct and come and go), to more severe video corruption including some audio drop-outs, to very severe video corruption that is unwatchable, to something the TiVo is not even able to tune. Often, the problem only exists at the beginning of the 7pm recording and then goes away, but sometimes it lasts through all recordings for that evening (I almost never watch live TV).

For example, this last Tuesday’s American Idol didn’t get recording because no signal could be acquired, but Wednesday’s American Idol recorded fine with little to no corruption. I’ve considered that perhaps heat is an issue (the antenna is in the attic), but that doesn’t seem completely consistent (it wasn’t particularly hot on Tuesday). I haven’t checked on the antenna, which isn’t bolted down or anything, so could conceivably have gotten moved somehow (though I have no idea how), but then the signal will be perfectly fine later so that doesn’t seem likely.

This problem has led to me watching several episodes of Bones and House on FOX’s web site. I’ve watched occasional shows online over the past few years and I must say that there has been a significant improvement lately. The quality appears near-HD and the streaming is pretty much instant. I checked all of the main networks and this is pretty consistent across most of them. Very nice. Too bad not all the shows are available this way.

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Cabling Issues

As I obliquely referenced in the entry about my new TiVo HD, I need to connect the antenna to the incoming cable line in the attic. This means I need to cut the cable and add new connectors to it.

I went to Fry’s yesterday to get some supplies for doing this (a couple of “F” connectors and a coupler, just in case I needed to reconnect the original cut cable). Immediately I ran into difficulty because I couldn’t manage to get the “F” connector installed onto the end of the cable (my suspicion is that the main cable into my house is a larger grade than normal, though it is entirely possible that I am just inept at this work).

While I was struggling with this, my wife, Marci, arrived home and almost immediately asked if I had already cut the cable and thereby disconnected the Internet. Oops. All this time I had never Read the rest of this entry »

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