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3-D Tetris, World Pictures & DVR Thoughts

Weird—a table top 3-D version of Tetris. Check out the TV Commercial. It’s just not the same.

Gorgeous pictures from a couple’s recent One Year, One World travel journey—really inspriring.

Now that I’ve been using the Motorola 6412, Comcast’s DVR, for a few months, I thought I’d comment on some of the pros and cons of it compared to TIVO (which seems to be teetering on the edge of death with recent events like 2 executives stepping down or leaving and DirectTV announcing that they’re not going to renew their contract which ends in 2007). TIVO needs to do something to stay alive–as much as I loved it, it wasn’t enough for me to stay with it. After only about 6 months, I switched to Comcast’s solution and sold my Series2 for a measly $50 (which isn’t bad for a 1 year old machine, considering you can now buy a new one for $75 after rebate).

Features that I get with the Comcast DVR that I don’t with TIVO:

  • One box, one remote. Instead of a separate cable box with a separate remote, it’s just one machine.
  • Because the box is integrated with your cable, you don’t have to rely on a trusty telephone line or ethernet connection to make sure your programming is up to date.
  • Also, you don’t have to “guess” which programming is *your* programming. With the TIVO, you’re given “do you have the Comcast digital gold lineup? or the Comcast silver basic digital lineup?” A screwup in that initial choice can result in channels not being what you think they are and inability to access other channels. Total pain.
  • Dual tuner. Dual tuner. Dual tuner. This means you can record two shows at the same time…or record one show and watch another at the same time. This just rocks.
  • It records HDTV in HDTV quality. Enough said.
  • In the short term, this is just cheaper. It costs $5 for HDTV from Comcast plus $5 to rent the box on a monthly basis. With TIVO, you have to buy the entire unit and then spend $12.95/month for the service. So even if you get the TIVO box for free, you’re saving $3/month for the service..and you get a lot more. Plus, it’s nice to not commit to the hardware by buying it outright and just renting it.
  • There’s a 4th fast forward/rewind level—which goes in increments of 15 min., making it way faster to go through a recording.
  • The machine clearly tells you how much space has been used (“57% full”) so you have a sense of when you should delete recordings. With TIVO, you would only know the size of your harddrive and just prayed that your next recording wasn’t going to bump that movie you recorded 2 months ago and hadn’t watched.
  • Flipping between channels is way faster. If I was on one channel and just pushed the Channel Up button, it flips the channels soooo much faster than the TIVO.
  • Flipping the guide is way faster. Same here, if I was going through the channel guide and paging up or down, it goes a lot faster.
  • Comcast customer service rocks. You don’t have to wait long on the phone and because they are the cable company, they can ping you with direct software upgrades as needed.
  • Being able to continue to watch your show as you go through other settings. Like, if I want to go through my list of recorded shows, the menu is set up such that there’s still a small screen showing what’s on Live TV along with the sound. With TIVO, the minute you go into your TIVO recordings, you lose the audio and video of the live TV.

    Things that I miss with TIVO:

  • The sounds. They were pretty cool.
  • Online scheduling (tho’ I wouldn’t be surprised if Microsoft or Comcast already have something like this in the works). I liked having the ability to read about a program from work and then setting it to record without having to go home to do it.
  • Displaying pictures and music from my home computer via the TIVO via the common network . That was neat. Then again, I have a laptop and it takes just as much time for me to bring my laptop downstairs and connect it to my plasma monitor as it does for me to drag-and-drop and pictures/music I want to “share” onto the TIVO Home Media program.
  • Being able to say “I’m going to TIVO that show”—it’s more awkward to say “I’m going to DVR that show” or whatever replacement vocabulary. Even saying “I’m going to record that show” doesn’t sound as cool as saying “I’m going to TIVO that show”.

    I’m probably missing a few points…but all in all, I’m really happy with my Comcast DVR.

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