October 05, 2002
A C- for TiVo
Do you TiVo? I was one of those who couldn't see the value of a digital VCR, but when I bought one as a gift off of eBay last year (hey, you couldn't find 'em in the stores!), I set it up at home to make sure it was functional. Well, after just a couple of days, I was hooked. The digital VCR functions are slick (particularly the ability to do "Season Passes" where your favorite shows are recorded no matter when they are on), but what is really nice is the ability to deal with live TV. Need to go to the loo, but a commercial is 10 minutes away? No problem, just pause it. Missed what happened in that last scene? No prob, just replay it. And since it is digital, you get fairly clear freeze frames or slow motion.
Lest you wonder, I'm not a stockholder, so this is not a ploy to elevate stock prices. Alas, it is a more depressing tail of hardware issues followed by UI issues. The unit I bought for myself last year (manufactured by a name-brand company) has flaked out. Given that I bought it from eBay, I'm not confident that the warranty will work out to my favor, and anyways, I'm really eager to upgrade the disk space (which increases how many programs you can record) and to get the USB port. (There are no peripherals yet, but it really s*cks to have to archive a digital program to analog tape just to save it!)
So...today I trotted off to BestBuy and picked up a new unit. You can use these as a standalone digital VCR, but if you're an average person, you'll want to pay for the TiVo service. This is what provides you with the on-screen program information (and what the TiVo unit uses to record anything other than manually selected programs). I got home, hooked up the new unit, and, since all looks good, went to go activate service for this new unit, because the service is tied directly to a serial number. I understand the biz decision for this, but alas, I'm not sure they worked out all the kinks. Anyways, activating the new unit is trivial, and I'm done with that in a flash. Now what I want to do is deactivate the old unit (the one with the fried hard drive).
I go to the TiVo account management page, and check out my options.
So, I've emailed TiVo to find out how to turn off their service. (Like, what are they thinking? "Gee, if we make it hard for people to disconnect the service from the website, maybe they won't." Duh!!!) Anyways, I had to laugh, yet again, when I got the following after submitting their customer service form:
IDblog is Beth Mazur tilting at power law windmills. A little bit Internet, a little bit technology, a little bit society, and a lot about designing useful information products. Send your cards and letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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