In response to my Boxes of the Year column, I received some interesting correspondence wondering why the TiVo Premiere wasn’t more highly regarded – especially as I’m an owner.
First off, I’m the owner of many boxes. Some I like more than others. So that doesn’t really play into the equation. Also, if I weren’t the blogger that I am, I probably wouldn’t own a Premiere. Not yet, anyway. While its clearly TiVo’s platform of the future, for most folks, it’s not currently a significant enough upgrade over the Series3 or HD (of which I own a pair) to warrant purchase.
TiVo is one of the best DVRs but, given the numbers, most folks are clearly content with the hardware provided by their cable and satellite companies. And many of those solutions exceed TiVo’s capabilities in various areas. Having said that, TiVo leads the pack when it comes to “real” Internet-sourced content (versus widgetized snippets). And anyone looking for a retail DVR should go with TiVo (especially since it’s been radio silence out of Arris/Moxi and I suspect development has ceased). But I could live without the Premiere. Having sampled just about every mainstream DVR experience (and various newer, smaller players), Verizon, DirecTV, and Windows Media Center could all satisfy my timeshifting needs… and then some.
So what would it have taken to make the TiVo Premiere of a box of the year for me? Well, given the expansion of the CCI Byte lockdown (for customers of Time Warner, Cox Communications, etc) TiVo would need a streaming, versus progressive copying, multi-room solution. Additionally, while the new UI looks great, it’s incomplete and somewhat too slow for my tastes. Lastly, the Hulu app would have to be deployed and the Netflix, Photos, and Music apps would need to be modernized. Those are pretty modest goals and, combined with something like pyTiVo or an improved official TiVo Desktop, I could see the Premiere evolving into the “one box” TiVo promotes it as. Alternatively, had the higher-end (in theory) TiVo Premiere XL shipped with integrated 802.11n (like two solid $100 boxes – Roku, Apple TV) and the very nice TiVo Slide QWERTY remote, I’d probably feel differently.