Some of the options may be considered too complex or confusing for the average user. I would use a toggle to turn on ‘expert mode’, perhaps more than 2 mode levels. Like the classic UNIX mailer program Elm has 3 user levels, which change the behavior – the higher the level the more advanced the features available, and the less hand holding it does for the user. There would be one flag that would enable all of the advanced features.
Remember, if you like any of these, or have an RFE of your own, you can submit them to TiVo on this web page.
- Make 30 second skip a real feature, not a backdoor. (I know this is unlikely, but one can hope.)
- Add Boolean capabilities for wish lists, etc. AND, OR, NOT and grouping abilities would be nice. The Advanced Wish List backdoor is already in there, and it has basic AND and OR capabilities. (But no NOT as far as I know.) It already has * and ” support. I’d do it a bit different than the existing backdoor, since it isn’t as flexible. Assign buttons for parens and/or add them to the table. OR is the default, use Thumbs Up for AND and Thumbs Down for NOT.
- For TiVo with Ethernet, allow units to share configs – Wish Lists, Season Passes, etc. Makes it easy to clone units when you buy a new one, set the same season passes on multiple units in a household, maybe even send ‘suggestions’ to friends.
- Make the LiveTV buffer length configurable – perhaps a 0/5/15/30/60/90/120 style toggle, or allow the user to enter a number of minutes. It should also allow you to turn off buffering for when you’re not watching LiveTV.
- If ‘paused’ LiveTV overruns the buffer, auto-fail-over to record program. (This should be a user config.)
- Support spanning tapes when saving shows. Say you record a 4 hour event, make it easy to record to two 2-hour tapes. The DVD-R units already allow you to span DVDs.
- Add a generalized queuing system, then a selection on what to do with the queues – delete, move to a folder, view, save to VCR, etc. This would be very useful for cleaning up old recordings, marathon viewing sessions, saving multiple episodes to a tape without having to monitor the recording, etc. With the addition of photos and music this would be even more useful. You could select photos for a custom slide show, and create play lists right from the TiVo. There is already an application specific queuing system for putting shows on DVD in the DVD-R units. A queuing system is in high demand. Most people think of it as useful for:
- Marathon playback
- Multiple Save To VCR
Personally I think it would also be useful for:
- Bulk delete
- Save To Folder (should custom folders be implemented)
From an implementation point of view, it seems like a fairly simple problem. (Obviously I don’t know the TiVo code base, but I’d be kind of surprised if this was an issue.) You need two basic items:
- A way to toggle a flag indicating the program is to be queued.
- A UI to then do something with the queue.
The system, as I’ve envisioned it at this point, would be:
- When in Now Playing, highlight a show and hit ‘Record’. This will place the show into the queue – and should be reflected by an icon change. Pressing again would remove the show from the queue. I think ‘Record’ is a good choice as it is easily pressed, isn’t used for anything else, and, in my mind, I think of it as ‘adding a record’ to the queue.
- The new UI would be accessed from within Now Playing. Another unused button would be used – perhaps Pause or Trick Play. Or maybe one of the numbers – like ’3′.
The UI would be simple, with options like:
- Sort Queue
- Play Queue
- Save Queue To VCR
- Delete All Shows in Queue
- Save Queue To Folder (future)
Taking a page from UNIX mail clients like elm or mutt, you could also short cut this UI. While in Now Playing, if any shows are tagged, pressing ‘Play’ would immediately start playing the queue (I would default it to oldest show first, as this is most likely to be used to view multiple episodes of one show). Pressing ‘Clear’ would delete the queue – after confirmation of course.
The Queue options are fairly obvious. I envision ‘Sort Queue’ being a UI like the one used to prioritize Season Passes.
- Faster way to enter text – Support for USB and/or IR keyboards would be welcome. For example, ReplayTV supports IR keyboards.
- A ‘Why did you recommend that?’ option on TiVo suggestions. Aside from the curiosity, it would help people correct ratings or such they’ve done that are resulting in TiVo suggestion stuff they don’t want.
- Many times when using ‘Record this episode’ you will get a conflict with a pre-existing setting. Then you can view additional episodes, and try the others until you find one that does not conflict. It would be preferable if the TiVo did this automatically. When you select ‘Record this episode’ and there is a conflict, one of the options offered could be ‘The [date/time] airing does not conflict – record?’. If this doesn’t appear, then you know all available episodes are in conflict, and you need to resolve it as you do now.
- Make the clock display in the lower right, currently a ‘hack’, a real feature users can toggle. This should display the elapsed time indicator as well, as it does today.
- Add the ability to automatically skip commercials when playing back, recording to VCR, etc. I know this is controversial, but one can hope. Perhaps auto-FF instead of pure-skip, more like VCRs which have had it for years.
- Add the ability to do basic editing – set a mark, set another mark, then delete the contents between the marks. Or save it into a separate file. Useful for editing out unwanted content, or for saving specific subsets of a show – say a sporting event, Oscars, etc. If you have HMO with MRV you can already do this in a hackish manner by transferring from a pause point and then stopping the transfer, leaving a fragment.
- Make the ‘Show suggestions in ToDo list’ backdoor a real feature. This is fantastically useful, being able to see individual suggestions scheduled to be recorded and canceling them, converting them to requested recordings, changing the recording options, etc. If not made into a ‘real’ feature, please move this out of the backdoor arena by giving it a key code shortcut.
- When possible send simple chan-up/chan-down signals via the IR Blaster. This changes channels much faster than sending the digits each time. This would primarily be for surfing. If you have a 3-digit cable box there is a very irritating delay between hitting the chan-up/down and it entering all three digits to change. This makes the most sense when watching LiveTV. When recording sending the full number is probably best to avoid any out-of-sync conditions.
- Allow for negative ‘padding’ – ie, starting recording late and end recording early. To adjust for networks that are regularly off.
- Allow for global setting of all recording defaults – like ‘keep at most’, etc. Today only a few settings have global controls.
- Allow the user to set the limit for not recording a previously recorded episode to something other than 28 days – both greater and lesser. Ideally you should be able to set this differently for each show. You may not want to record a show repeatedly for months from networks that often repeat episodes months on end (like Discovery Wings, M*A*S*H on FX).
- A general ‘undo’ feature, probably a dedicated remote button (the instant replay button would be good for this), that would roll-back the last thing you did. It could have a command history, with repeated pressing backing up the list. But that’s probably more than is required.
- Provide the core options on all possible screens. For example, when in Now Showing, allow the user to ‘see upcoming episodes’ and ‘get a season pass’ from the episode screens. Allow the Chan Up/Down to jump shows on all menus listing episodes, or to move between season pass detail screens in the Season Pass Manager screen, etc.
- Provide a ‘Delete and record again ASAP’ option. This is useful if the network screws up and doesn’t air what was in the guide. You can delete it and TiVo will try to grab it the next time it airs, while today it wouldn’t because it thinks it recorded it, and you deleted it – so the 28 day rule applies. Basically this would remove the record of the show from the 28 day history so the system would simply reschedule it as if it hadn’t been recorded.
The only way around this today is to manually look for the next showing and manually schedule a recording, or tell it to record all episodes which may cause extensive duplication, either defeats the TiVo’s ease of use.
- Add the ability to really search for shows. Both by title (default), and the description text. This might take a while (hence the title default) but it would help in finding programs when you can only remember a word from the title, or maybe a word from the description. Just as an example – if you were looking for the Academy Awards you might try to search by ‘Academy’ or ‘Oscar’ – but it is listed this year under ’74th’. Being able to do a search for any show with ‘Academy’ in the title would find it quickly. Right now it seems that ‘Search by Title’ is more ‘browse by title’, and the only way to do this is to go through creating a keyword wishlist – which is more work than is really required. Especially if you’re just looking to record a one time program.
- Eliminate all variable UI elements, they break both mental macros and programmable remotes. This mainly relates to the promotional recordings, it adds a new item to the main menu. As an example, without it going into Standby is TiVo-ChanDown-Select-ChanDown-Select, but this breaks when there is a promo. The menu item should always be in place, it can indicate new content by a change of icon. In the same way the messages icon is always there even if there are no messages.
- Improve the sorting options. Bring back ‘sort by expiration’, as it existed in the S0RT backdoor. When doing alphabetical sorting, do not mix Suggestions into the other recordings. Sort non-Suggestions first, then sort Suggestions afterwards. Other sort options could be added – type of program, channel, etc.
- Add the ability to jump ahead/back by X minutes and to jump to the X minute mark in the show. Enter ## on the keypad then FF to jump ahead by ## minutes, three digits (X##) would be X hours and ## minutes. Entering digits then hitting RW would jump back by that amount. Entering digits and then ‘Skip to Tick’ would jump directly to that position in the program.
- Add user defined folders. Allow users to save recordings into folders, set SPs and ARWLs to auto-save to specific folders, etc.
- Never record this show. Sometimes you want to give a positive rating to a show because you really like it and want TiVo to use it to determine suggestions – but you’ve seen it all and would rather it not record it. You should be able to set this flag for a show.
- ‘Why did you record that?’ Which wishlist or season pass caused a show to be recorded.
- User controls for FF/RW over-shoot correction values.
- Add the ability to create a Wishlist from the listing for a show, movie, etc. ‘Create Wishlist’ would be an option say from the Now Playing data on a recording, or the browse screens, or from within an existing Season Pass. When selected you would be able to edit/remove parameters brought over from the show – so you can have the wishlist look for the title, or for one or more of the actors, etc.
- Add icons to the on-screen guide to show which shows will be recorded, or are being recorded. Smaller versions of the ones used in Now Showing list – red dot for now recording, one or two check-marks, and the TiVo circle for scheduled suggestions.
- Allow for more options on mixed input – internal tuner for stations < X, external for stations >= X, cable + sat, cable A + cable B, etc. And support Line In recording officially.
- Add video calibration features to the TiVo – similar to what is found on the Video Essentials DVD, etc. This would make it easy for TiVo users to calibrate their TV and therefore obtain the optimal image from TiVo.
- Add more intuitive shortcuts. For example, the Record button only works in a few areas. It could be a shortcut to Pick Programs to Record in other screens, such as when in the menus. If you’ve paused a program, or otherwise exited playback to enter the menus, the Play button could jump you right back into resume playing.
- Do not reboot for new code if the unit is in use at all. 3.0 improved this by not rebooting while recording, but it is still very rude to reboot while someone is watching a recording or live TV. Or especially if a Save to VCR is in progress. It is easy to tell that someone is watching a recording or doing a save, and for live TV you could pop up a warning just like it does when it wants to record a suggestion.
- With the addition of network support, it makes sense to reduce the load on TiVo’s servers by allowing one unit in the home to be a ‘master’ unit that contacts TiVo and downloads guide data, etc. That unit would them distribute the data to the other units. This could reduce the expense to TiVo for modem usage. It would also reduce the usage of the phone, or broadband bandwidth, for the end user. A reduced subscription fee for additional units that use this method would be nice, but wouldn’t be expected.
- Add a new ‘notification’ tier to Wish Lists. Currently you can either set them to be auto-record, or you have to remember to check them periodically to see if anything new has shown up that you might wish to record. This is sub-optimal, and there should be an option that splits the difference. There is already a message center in the TiVo system. It would be nice to configure Wish Lists with a ‘Notify’ option that falls between auto-record and manual checking. Like auto-record it would look for any matching programs, but instead of adding them to the ToDo list it would drop a message into the New Messages folder. Something like “Wish List FUBAR has matched show SNAFU on such and such a date and time. Record?” This would make Wish Lists much more useful in that the machine would take care of letting you know, without potentially unpredictable changes to your ToDo list. Right now a highly ranked auto-record WL can cause a regular Season Pass to be unrecorded, and a lower ranked auto-record WL can silently fail to record a conflicting program. Notification as above lets the human know of a show that is of potential interest, and lets them decide if it should be recorded. Without having to remember to frequently manually check your Wish Lists.
- Allow for ‘soft padding’, both globally and on individual shows. This would be padding that is applied unless there is a scheduling conflict. On a global level you could have all recordings start 5 minutes early and end 5 minutes late – unless this would cause a conflict. This is just insurance against programs starting off their mark and/or running long. The standard padding values would be fine. So if you have 5-minute padding and two 1-hour programs at 20:00 and 21:00, the first would start at 19:55 and run to 21:00, and the second would start at 21:00 and run to 22:05. To be truly soft playback would start at the end of padding, and the user could rewind only if necessary. And at the end the padding would be ignored for the contextual menus – such as the delete/don’t delete choice you get in the last minutes.
- In the detailed info screens for programs, in the ‘Similar Programs’ listing, make those links to the next episode of the program when possible. The same thing you get in Search By Title – perhaps even just make each title a link to ‘Search By Title’ with that title already filled in. This would encourage users to check out some of the similar programming.
- Allow for multiple Season Passes for the same show on the same channel. This is useful for networks that show both first run and rerun programs of the same show. For example, Sci-Fi shows new and old episodes of Stargate SG-1. You could create a ‘First Run Only’ SP with a higher priority and different options – such as KUID. Then a second SP for the repeats at a lower priority, and perhaps ‘Until Space Needed’. If this is added the option of ‘rerun only’ might be useful.
- Add a new shortcut in Now Playing. Pressing ‘Instant Replay’ should resume the last viewed/paused program, no matter where it may be in a group, etc.
- Add an option to keep TiVo Suggestions out of SP/WL groups. When I see a group for a show that I have an SP for, I expect all of the episodes to be from the SP, not mixed with Suggestions.
- Make the UI more consistent. In some screens you need to use right arrow and not select or enter. Allow at least right arrow and select to do the same, preferably enter as well. Enable the ‘Skip To End’ feature in more of the menus, such as To Do. When in the Season Pass Manager allow the use of ChanUp/ChanDown to go to the adjoining SPs. Just generally make the various navigation systems work globally.
- Re-enable ChanUp/ChanDown in Now Playing with Grouping enabled. It used to be that if you selected a single program in Now Playing, you could use ChanUp/ChanDown to move into an adjoining program. However, when you enable grouping this feature is disabled. Within groups it still works to move between episodes, but within the top level of Now Playing it does not, even with adjoining single episodes. It would be nice to be able to use this, if the adjoining item is a group, then it could either simply enter the group listing, or perhaps just roll over to the adjoining episode within the group.
- Do intensive processing in the background. Doing transfers in 4.0 brings with it a nice addition – being able to ‘left’ off of the ‘Please Wait’ graphic to do other things. This would be nice in other scenarios, especially reordering Season Passes.
- Add sort capabilities for TiVo Suggestions. All sort by priority (which seems to be the default 3 thumb shows first, etc), chronological, or alpha. Chronological would be especially useful, as you could see what upcoming programs TiVo thinks may interest you.
- Allow configuration of the broadband ping timer. Some users have ‘dial on demand’ or ‘connect on demand’ home networks. They’d certainly benefit from connecting the TiVo to their home network, but wouldn’t want it kicking off a connection every 15 minutes. It could be a list such as “15min, 30min, 1hr, 2hr, 4hr, 8hr, 12hr, With Data Call”. The last would only check TCO with each ‘daily’ call.
- Expand groups in place in Now Playing. When groups are turned on, pressing select should open the group in place, as a kind of tree view. So this Now Playing:
+group1 +group2 +group3
Would look like this when Group2 is selected:
+group1 -group2 |-episode1 |-episode2 -episode3 +group3
Pressing select on the group ‘header’ would collapse it again. This would make it easy to expand multiple groups and leave others collapsed, to browse Now Showing. The unit should remember the state of Now Showing for when you return.
- Show episode titles outside of groups in Now Playing. Perhaps pressing ’3′ could be ‘Show Episode Titles’:
*Series Name -episode title *Series Name -episode title
Or perhaps ’3′ would toggle the display of ‘Series Name’ or ‘episode title’ in the listing. Because of the limited width something like “Series Name: episode title” probably isn’t viable.
- Support nested groups. Suggestions would have sub-groups, just like the rest of Now Playing, for series, etc. Wishlists would contain all of the matching programs, but group them in sub-groups when appropriate. So if you have a WL for a particular actor, you might see the following. Now Playing:
When you select the WL:
Actor: -Series1 -Series2 show1 show2 show3
When you select the Series1 sub-group:
Series1 -episode1 -episode2
I think it’d be best combined with my RFE for expanding groups in place. Then you could expand all the Series in the Actor folder if you wish. To have something like:
Actor: -Series1 |-episode1 -episode2 -Series2 |-episode1 -episode2 show1 show2 show3
- The sort options should be inherited within groups. You should be able so sort the contents of a group alphabetically or by date (and hopefully by expiration date).
- Allow ‘clear’ to delete an entire group. This should be straight forward. The warning confirmation message should be changed to make it clear you are deleting ALL shows in the group, but this would be useful. Accidental deletion shouldn’t be a major concern, as it does require a confirmation, and the warning could be very strong. (Of course, with undelete there’d be no concern at all.)
- If you’re behind in the buffer and change the channel, pop up a confirmation warning the user that they will lose the current buffer if they change channels. This could even be something as simple as the ‘Rec’ icon that comes up if you hit a button while in ‘Save To VCR’, it could ‘bong’ and show a ‘Buffer’ warning icon on the first press.
- Place recordings in all matching groups. We see today that Suggestions will show up in the Suggestions group, and a group for the series, should it exist. ARWL recordings may also show up in the WL group and a Series group. This behavior should be extended – if a recording exists that matches multiple WLs and/or SPs, and grouping is turned on, the recording should be listed in all of them.
- Better handling of empty groups. If you delete the last program in a group, instead of remaining in the group and only having the option of exiting, it should return you to Now Playing. Also, if you’re in a group and delete the second to last program, or the last non-suggestion, it should NEVER yank the group out from under you. If you’re in a series group spawned from a WL group and you delete the second to last recording, leaving only one episode, the group vanishes. That’s confusing and rude. If you’re in a group with one requested recording and one of more suggestions and you delete the requested recording, it also vanishes. The group should remain until the user has exited back to Now Playing.
- Decouple ‘Guide’ from ‘LiveTV’. Currently pressing Guide always takes you to LiveTV, but this hardly seems required. Pressing Guide while watching a recording should simply call up the Guide over the recording, allowing users to check the current listings while watching a recording.
- Allow more criteria to be used for Wishlists. The descriptions often have more data available – original air date, year of release for movies, color vs B&W, number of stars, etc.
- Show expiration status on groups. Show the worst case element. If all elements are KUID, show a green dot on the folder. If any items have a yellow dot, show it on the folder. If any items have an exclamation point, show one the folder. Then you can tell at a glance which folders have shows that may expire soon.
- TiVo already stores shipping and credit card information for TiVo accounts, it would be nice to be able to designate this info, or enter new info, as shopping information. Once the information is entered users would be able to activate ‘TiVo Shopping’ as a feature of their account. With this activated users could shop from their TiVo directly. For example, recently there have been promotions for CDs where users would have to go to a website or a store to buy them – with this you could order the CD directly from the TiVo and it would be shipped to your registered address. To secure the system a PIN could be configured, to stop kids from ordering everything in sight, etc. With this kind of feature TiVo could also market it to advertisers or shopping networks. Imagine seeing a commercial for a CD and getting “Press Thumbs Up To Buy Now!” – bingo, one CD on the way. Or using TiVoMatic on QVC so TiVo users could buy the current item with a press. (This may require broadband connectivity for the realtime purchases.) TiVo would skim a percentage of the sale for their services as an enabler, and end-users get ridiculous convenience.
- Add a more intelligent scheduling system, that optimizes the number of shows recorded. Say I setup three Season Passes:
- Cowboy Bebop
- Test Pilots
And they are scheduled as such (presume all are the same episode, just repeated):
10:00 MASH 10:00 Cowboy Bebop 13:00 MASH 15:00 Cowboy Bebop 15:00 Test Pilots
As I understand it, today the 10:00 MASH and 15:00 Cowboy Bebop would be recorded.
But if it recorded the 10:00 Cowboy Bebop, 13:00 MASH, and 15:00 Test Pilots, it would catch all three shows. The obvious problem with this is that it is a much more complex computational problem to determine the optimum recording schedule when there are a large number of Season Passes, Wish Lists, and individually scheduled recordings.
- Add an Opt-In feature to TCO, to upload the information from the TiVos. So that the actual ‘Channels I receive’ list could be used, SPs and WLs would be available via the web, To Do list, Thumb Ratings, etc. Not only would this provide what could be a unified management center for multiple units, it could serve as a backup to restore settings to a reset unit.
- Fully implement and release an equivalent to Teach TiVo, as started in 2.0. Even as partially implemented it was very useful. If data uploads to TCO were supported, this could be implemented via the web. Which would provide a LOT more UI options via web forms, etc. A database driven editing system would be very powerful and useful.
- With Opt-In Data uploads, add calendar views like the PalmOS datebook to TCO. Where you can see today, 3 days, the next week, and month. Showing a day you could have green boxes with the titles of the shows being recorded, and red boxes ‘behind’ the green boxes for shows not being recorded, and perhaps yellow boxes with suggestions the TiVo plans to record. This would let you see conflicts at a glance, and alter recording preferences – highlight the red box and it shows you the episode description, the reason it isn’t being recorded, and the option to ‘record this episode’. The red boxes would only be for shows that will not be recorded in the ToDo list at all – so if the 17:00 broadcast is in conflict, but the 21:00 rebroadcast is being recorded, there would be no red box for the 17:00 edition. And there is no point is displaying episodes not recorded because of the 28 day rule. The week view would be more of a high level overview most likely. The monthly (or perhaps, 2 weeks given the limitations of TiVo data) view would be more for navigation, quickly moving to a day to see what is scheduled. There could also be a link to the guide data for that day for quick scheduling.
- Provide backup on the TiVo servers for the user settings. The user can select ‘backup on next call’, and the next time the TiVo connects it uploads the settings. Probably in a pre-compressed single file. Then the user can ‘restore from backup’ in the future if need be. Probably if their unit dies and gets replaced, or they upgrade to a new unit.
- In TiVo Cental Online, provide status on the website, not just in email. Show a list of requests with success/fail/pending status right in TCO. This keeps it a closed loop. And for failures due to conflict, it could link to re-request the recording and the user could select a different DVR, or tell it to override the existing recording.
- Bulk delete of TiVo messages. When using TCO it generates a TiVo Central Message for each request. Deleting all of them one by one can be very tedious. We should be able to delete all of them at once, most likely by pressing clear on the envelope icon new message indicator.
- Allow manual time/channel recordings from TCO. There should be a ‘manual recording’ option on TCO. Simply select the channel to record, and the start and end times.
- Use network support to provide cooperative conflict resolution between units. Working hand in hand with video sharing it could work as such: Unit A wants to record Show1 and Show2 at the same time, Unit B doesn’t have anything scheduled at that time. Unit A records Show1 and Unit B records Show2. Once recorded it is automatically transferred to Unit A – transparent to the end user.
- With Multi-Room Viewing when connected to the remote machine I expect to see most of the regular options for each show, ie: Play, Keep until…, Delete now, Save to VCR, and Don’t do anything. I realize the system doesn’t do streaming from one unit to another, so not having some makes sense.But I think we should be able to adjust the Keep until… remotely, and delete shows. ‘Delete now’ should work, as should ‘Clear’ from Now Playing.I would change the UI to have:
Watch on this TV Keep until... Delete now Don't do anything
- Add ‘Transfer and delete’ as a transfer option. This would allow you to set a number of shows to transfer, and when they complete successfully they would be deleted from the originating TiVo. Many people are likely to use a 2nd TiVo as an additional tuner, transferring shows to the primary unit for viewing.
- Currently the transfer controls are scattered. Other units are shown at the end of Now Playing. An in-progress transfer is shown in Now Playing depending on the sort. Pending transfers are in View Recording History, as are any failed transfers. I’d like to see a ‘Transfers’ UI added. Within ‘Transfers’ I’d see:
Transfer Current & Pending History
Transfer would show a list of other TiVos and let you start a transfer. Current & Pending would show just that and let you cancel them, or change options. And History would show the past transfers. All in one place.
- Allow the browsing of the ToDo list on a remote TiVo and the advance scheduling of ‘Transfer’ and ‘Transfer and delete’. This could be done with ‘Schedule Transfer’ in a unified transfer menu. This would allow you to set a recording and plan the transfer ahead of time to have it ready to view on the local machine. Even better would be being able to edit Season Passes and Wishlists to truly allow the remote unit to be used as a second tuner transparently.
- Allow for ‘push’ with MRV. If I’m sitting in the bedroom and have a show on that TiVo that I’d like to watch later in the living room it would be nice to be able to ‘send’ the show. I think this could be done by changing ‘Save To VCR’ to ‘Save to…’ and adding ‘DVR’ as an option, under which you would chose the appropriate DVR to ‘save’ the show to.
- Transfer ‘now’. If you want to watch another show right now, but you already have other transfers running or queued, you have to cancel them all and then start the new transfer. We already know that transfers can be resumed, so it should be possible to jump the queue with a new transfer.
- Look for existing copy before transferring. Several times I have begun a transfer, only to find that the very program I’m transferring is already on the receiving unit, usually recorded as a Suggestion. Or perhaps I’d already recorded it, or transferred it. It would be nice if it checked first, and let you use the local copy as the ‘transferred’ copy instead – or you could choose to transfer anyway.
- Full ‘Pick Programs To Record’ Access to remote TiVos. With MRV you can view programs from another unit, and hopefully remote delete will also be coming. With TCO you could program the remote unit, but it would be much easier to simple access Pick Programs to Record remotely. The UI can be locally generated, but it’d manipulate the data on the remote system. Combined with MRV and remote delete, this would provide true remote control of additional units.
- When browsing Now Playing on a remote TiVo, it is not possible to see the extended program info. Pressing ‘Display/Info’ does nothing. It is desirable to be able to see the extended info for programs on the remote unit before executing a transfer.
- Show the play list, or partial play list, on the screen while playing music. Currently most of the screen is not being used, the current track info box could be moved up and you could show enough of the play list bracketing the current track to see what’s just played and what is coming up.
- For Music & Photos you should be able to add a server by name, instead of number. Humans speak names, not IP addresses. It looks like you can point to any machine online – but it’d be a lot easier for people to tell a friend to hit photos.fubar.com than to hit 10.124.56.25. TiVo already has text entry, use the existing UI widget and in the entry screen provide a ‘enter by name’ or ‘enter by number’ selection. I do networking, and I rarely speak IP. In an ideal world the average person should never need to know an IP address, that’s why DNS, DHCP, WINS, etc, all exist.
- Add accounts and authentication to the TiVo Publisher. This would allow you to share specific photos/songs or directories for different users. Right now it is all or nothing. If your machine is accessible online you can have friends with TiVos check out your shares – but everyone sees the same thing. You might have photos from your last vacation that you’d like your friends to see, but perhaps not your parents, or co-workers, etc. Right now it doesn’t appear that the Access Controls let you enter an IP address ahead of time, so you can’t pre-authorize someone out on the net. It looks like to share online you have to be wide open. Even with pre-auth, it will pose problems since most users do not have fixed IP addresses anyway. And, even if this were possible, it is still all or nothing. Everyone sees the same content. A basic system is all that is needed, and since it is HTTP you could use the existing HTTP Basic Auth protocol. Add an account to the publisher and set a password on it. Then you could simply drag what items you want to share to that account onto the account to grant permissions. You could create a ‘family’ account and give that username/password to all family members, etc.
- Select a photo folder for screen saver. There has been a lot of demand for a screen saver. When video is paused too long, instead of menus reverting to LiveTV, etc, it would be nice to set a photo folder to be used as a screen saver. When it kicked in, it’d just do a slide show. If the folder were unavailable, revert to old behavior.
- Allow for music to continue playing as you browse the menus. This would be a third option in the ‘When exiting’ selection. If this is selected the music would continue playing until the audio output is required for something else, such as playing a video.
- Currently Music playback only displays a small subset of the possible ID3v1 and ID3v2 tags. The TiVo playback screens should be updated to display the other available fields, including cover art, and the TiVo Server needs to serve that information.
- Disable menu sound effects when Music is still playing. Simple, if you navigate away from the playback screen today you still get the ‘beeps’ when using the menu, overlayed on the music. These should be dynamically disabled if music is still playing.
- Add a shortcut key from TiVo Central for Music & Photos. Perhaps TiVo + Play would take you directly to M&P.
- Enable 30 second skip and clock & ETI for Music. Just as in video, enable the SPS30S and SPS9S backdoors for music playback.
- Add Music Play Options to folders, put them in with Music Browsing Options – just unify it and call it ‘Music Options’. Today, to change playback options, you have to navigate all the way into a song and select Options, with a tree directory structure that can be tedious. Since you can start playback from a higher level folder, you should also be able to control the playback options from the folder.
- Improve the TiVo Server and TiVo Music UI to allow for faster navigation. For example, calling up the alphanumeric keypad and entering a string, which would bring you to the first track that matches that expression. On the server side this should be a quick pattern match.
- Support other audio formats for Music on the TiVo. There is an MP3/Ogg Vorbis player for Palm5 devices that runs on a Palm Tungsten T, which has a 144MHz TI OMAP 1510 (ARM) CPU. This runs in the background while you can perform other tasks, and the Palm has a total of 16MB RAM – which is, of course, also used to store data on a Palm. I would think the Series2, with the 200MHz MIPS CPU, could handle Ogg Vorbis decoding in software. Handling other formats, such as WMA, MP3Pro, etc, is also very likely feasible, but may require license fees, whereas Ogg Vorbis is free. Transcoding to MP3 on the server is, of course, possible, but the likely loss in quality makes it undesirable.
- Filters in publisher. Many people use photo software that generates thumbnails in the same directory as the main image, etc. So you’ll have image.jpeg and image.thumb.jpeg, or something similar. It would be nice to add a filter to publisher to be able to publish images that match, or don’t match, a regular expression.
- To compliment the new music support, some kind of visualization tool would be excellent. For me the best thing that could happen would be for TiVo to get Jeff ‘Yak’ Minter to write the Virtual Light Machine 3 for TiVo. The original Virtual Light Machine was part of the Atari Jaguar’s JagCD add-on, and the VLM2 was written for the NUON chip set used for a while in some advanced DVD players. Yak has started up Llamasoft again, and I’m sure he’d be open to some work.
- It would be nice if the remote could eject the DVD. No need for an eject button, on many players pressing ‘stop’ when the disc is already stopped it will eject.
- When saving to DVD, in the Choose Program screen make the display of suggestions a toggle. They can really clutter things up as it stands now.
- For units with a broadband connection, add a CDDB agent to fill in the track listings when listening to a CD.
- Normalize the volume for CDs with video playback. CDs are way too loud if you forget to turn it down after watching video. For video my receiver is at -42db, for CDs it is -60db.
- Transfers from other units can be saved to VCR, and that’s been the case for all HMO systems. So why not allow them to be saved to DVD? This will be especially important if TiVo ever adds cooperative scheduling. You’d want any show scheduled from the DVD unit to be burnable, even if it ends up recorded on another unit. The first, trivial, change would be to allow recordings from other DVD units to be burned. That would just be for convenience – you wouldn’t be allowing anything new since it could be burned on the original box.An upgrade to other standalone units, perhaps only those on the same account, with HMO, as a DVD unit, would allow them to record in the DVD compatible formats. I understand that ‘Extreme’ may be beyond the capabilities of existing units, but the other three formats are better than nothing. These DVD compatible recordings could them be transferred and burned.At the high end the DVD unit could support transcoding into the DVD formats. If the encoder can’t be used, it may be possible to do it as a non-realtime background process in the CPU if a standard transformation could be applied to the bitstream. Transcoding could also allow for DirecTiVo recordings to be saved, and in the future perhaps digital cable recordings, or even transcoding ATSC down to DVD levels.
- With the DVD burning being very exact about the amount of time allowed on a disc, being able to set start and stop offsets is critical. This doesn’t have to mean setting edit breaks in the program, though that would be nice, but simply what you can do when saving to a VCR. Start the recording at some point into the recording, and stop it early. If you use padding to handle overruns it can destroy the ability to save to DVD. If you record a one hour program at Extreme, but set 5 minutes of padding on the end, you’d be asked to span it over two discs! Or two one hour episodes at High with padding – you’d want to be able to put them on the same disc. Other HD/DVD recorders allow fairly sophisticated editing, surely a simple start/end marker isn’t too much to ask for.
- Add recording to CD-R/RW. Either direct burning of MP3 files, for MP3 CDs, from HMO, or converting to WAV and recording standard audio CDs.
- Add a simple selection to erase a DVD-RW discs.
- Since the unit can write DVD-R/RW, it would be nice to be able to burn discs of photos and/or MP3s from HMO. Imagine burning a DVD photo slideshow with music of your vacation, or child’s party, and sending it to relatives.
- The drives used in most, if not all, if the TiVo DVD models are capable of dual-layer burning as well as using DVD+R/RW media. Enable the features in the software.
- Add support for digital audio/video in/out. Some recent satellite and cable boxes support digital A/V output, and it will become more useful as digital signals become increasingly common.
- Put the ‘Standby’ button on all remotes.
- With the Series2 there is some basic checking of the drive’s software as a hack prevention tool. This concept could be taken further. The software needed to format a raw drive is tiny and could be built into the main board. Similarly a minimal kernel is very small, it doesn’t even fill a 3.5″ floppy. It would be possible to have a unit recognize a new, or corrupted drive, boot as a RAM disk in memory and allow the user to select to format and install the disk. The minimal image wouldn’t be the full TiVo image, just enough for the unit to call home and download the software, like a standard system upgrade. The unit would then bootstrap itself. This would make upgrading the drive as simple as plugging one in, and it would also be very useful for recovering from a dead drive.