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February 14, 2005

Tivo To Go: Crippled & Crazy

I waited a month and a half for this?

Finally, having submitted a request to upgrade my Tivo software to the latest version that enables transfer of movies from my Tivo to my home network, I have gotten it. It took at least 30 days. In the IT world, that's the kind of software delivery that kills a company.

So I get the upgrade and download the new desktop client. Along with that I get a 'Media Access Key'. OK they're encoding the mpeg so it can't be transferred all over the globe (as if bandwidth was free). There's also a password. But when I went to download the movies that I've been storing on my Tivo since December, it tells me that the service is not installed. Not a terribly useful error message. It turns out that it takes another 24 hours for the Tivo itself to get the access key.

OK so finally yesterday it's ready to go. I start downloading something small. One episode of 'Aqua Teen Hungerforce', a 15 minute show. It takes 40 minutes. What? Well, maybe it's because I'm running my anti-virus at the time (every Friday evening). So I kill the AV scan and try another two episodes. One hour and 28 minutes. This is retarded.

Clearly, they have crippled the transfer mechanism. Plus the end quality is weak. I get weird stripes on the top few pixels in the view like it needs to be cropped. Full screen expansion is lousy. All the stuff only plays in Windows Media Player.

On the whole, it's worth it, but mostly because I wanted it so badly. This is clearly something that will be worth it if I can get it on my laptop, but for the home computer as an alternative to the TV, the quality sucks much worse than DVD or P2P mpegs.

Posted by mbowen at February 14, 2005 12:40 PM

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Those strange bars at the top are for the closed captioning information. Mplayer (only for Linux) is the only program I can find that actually crops or uses that data.

Posted by: Dan at February 20, 2005 03:19 AM