No Valentine’s Love from the TiVo HD

February 16, 2009

For a combo Valentine’s/Birthday gift, Rebekah got me something that had been on our wish list for awhile, a TiVo HD. We currently have a Series 2 TiVo and with Southslope offering HD service now and the Netflix viewing through the TiVo HD, it was a great time to upgrade. Or so we thought!

A little background info, our current Series 2 TiVo works with our cable service by taking in a composite signal from the cable box and uses an IR blaster to change the channels on the cable box. This works well since our cable service is IPTV and comes through an Ethernet cable, not a coax connection, so we need our cable box. This is where problems start with the TiVo HD.

The TiVo HD was designed to be a replacement for your cable box. It only has a coax input and leverages the CableCARD technology to basically replace a standard cable box. This is a problem for us, since we don’t have a coax connection. I checked the Southslope cable box and it does have a coax out, so I had some hope we could get it kinda working. My dreams were dashed though when I found the TiVo HD doesn’t support the IR blaster, so even if we could route the signal through the TiVo, we couldn’t change the channels.

Unfortunately, this meant the TiVo had to be shipped back. This was disappointing for both Rebekah and I, and while there is some blame to be passed to both TiVo and Southslope, I blame TiVo more. They basically removed functionality from the Series 2 to the HD. Right now, we are able to record and watch TV through the TiVo Series 2, but the new TiVo wouldn’t work at all. I might blame Southslope for having a unique cable setup, but it isn’t like this is some old technology, it is up and coming. I would hope TiVo would be looking for ways to support this. The TiVo HD even says that it cannot support satellite connections at this time. That is a rather large market to not support, again when you have a technology already that does work with it.

Hopefully TiVo works on adding these other markets in the future. What it does do for us is make me look at other technologies that I had ignored because I was so pleased with the TiVo service. At the end of the day, we will likely stick with TiVo, but it isn’t good for business when customers start looking at other options.