Recently ZDNet’s Ed Burnette lost a TiVo in a lightning storm. When that happened he decided to give Time Warner’s Scientific Atlanta Explorer 8340HDC DVR a try rather than having his old TiVo, which had lifetime but was not HD, repaired. Ed thought he’d try this because, as he puts it:
The Time Warner DVR box model was free, and the service cost $7.95/month. Also I was excited at the possibility of finally getting high definition content on my Sony HDTV. I asked some friends who used it and they seemed happy with it.
But the reality of the situation was not so rosy:
I can sum up my experiences with the Time Warner DVR in one word: Argh!
Ed enumerates the myriad of issues he experienced with the cable DVR in his article at ZDNet. From the terrible button-farm remote with unintuitive controls, to the lack of a priority list for the DVR’s version of Season Passes, to odd quirks during normal use (like the screen blacking when you pause playback and having trouble resuming playback), and more. And it sounds like his family agreed:
After two weeks of this I decided enough was enough. The family all agreed. We wanted TiVo!
Ed considered paying the $150 repair fee, which would really see him upgraded to a Series2DT with his lifetime transferred. But he’d had a taste of HD and native digital cable support, so he instead opted for the TiVo HD. After ordering his new TiVo HD, but before it shipped, TiVo announced the TiVo HD XL.
Knowing a good thing when he sees it, Ed canceled the TiVo HD and ordered a TiVo HD XL.
I think TiVo should send a nice thank you gift to Time Warner and Cisco/Scientific Atlanta for providing such a crappy DVR. The bad experience helped turn a potential lost customer with a dead TiVo into a high-end customer with the latest and greatest TiVo. Cisco’s bad DVR was good for TiVo.