unique visitors since July 27, 2005

August 01, 2005

End of the Affair: Why I'm Dumping TiVo

Malbug_13

Our relationship has been on the skids for a long time, but I have finally come to the realization that it is now over between me and my secret boyfriend.  We have simply grown apart, and just as intensely as Miranda fell for him in season 6 of Sex and the City, I have fallen out of love ... with TiVo.

Tivo I would like to say that "it's not him, it's me," but I know that would be untrue.  The fact is, he has refused to change.  Not only that, but he has become passive-aggressive at best, and actively neglectful at worst.

When I was in the process of moving to New York, TiVo and I were apart for some time.  But when we were finally reunited, he seemed ... distant.

Reprogramming him for an entirely new cable system proved a frustrating and balky proposition.  It took several failed attempts to connect before he realized that we now lived in a new city.

Then a new technological love entered my life.

I spent an obscene amount of money on a large, new HDTV.  It quickly became apparent that in order to get the most out of my new television, I needed a DVR that could record in full high-definition, a task that is sadly beyond TiVo's capability.  TiVo offers HD in conjunction with DirecTV, but it is cold comfort for those of us for whom satellite is not an option.  Giving the millions of Americans with cable TV the back of your hand makes about as much sense as saying you will date only redheads.

So I opted for the cable tuner with built-in DVR, made by Scientific Atlanta and offered by Time Warner Cable.  Despite its limitations -- lack of TWC's HD channels, and holding only about 20 hours of HD programming while refusing to work with the (nonrefundable) 400gb SATA hard drive I bought to supplement it -- I was still able to record programs in all their high-def glory.

So TiVo was relegated to the bedroom, where he has sat ever since.

But then new problems began to emerge in our relationship.  First, despite its ability to "see" my home's WiFi network, TiVo was mysteriously and suddenly unable to connect anymore.  Having even a hope of rectifying the problem would require a lengthy phone call to TiVo support, and more time than I care to waste, having already spent far too much time getting TiVo acclimated to New York in the first place.

The network-compatibility issue has also rendered me unable to transfer programs to my office PC for DVD recording, as I was previously able to do under the much-ballyhooed "TiVoToGo" service.

Textbox And then there's this, TiVo: You are always take, take, take.  Even though the TiVo subscription costs only about $5 per month more than the DVR rental fee from TWC, the manifold drawbacks hardly make it seem like it is adding any value.  While I am enjoying vivid high-def DVR programming in the living room, a barely functional TiVo gathers dust in the bedroom, as $13 gets sucked from my checking account every month.

I have been trying to ignite a little passion with TiVo in the bedroom, but we suffer from a dysfunction that I call "YABS," or the "Yet Another Box Syndrome."  It has become my practice and preference to mount the TV in my bedroom on the wall to provide extra floor space, which in a Manhattan apartment is at a premium.  However, I am unaware of any commercially made TV wall mount that allows more than one additional bracket for hanging a device like a cable box or DVD player.  When it comes to choosing the least dispensable of those components, it quickly becomes clear who is the odd man out.

TiVo, I'm sorry, but you just aren't changing with my needs.  We need to break up.