This post details problems with the “Tivo by virgin media” service. If you don’t like ranty posts, stop reading now. Below is a list of the more superficial problems.

TL;DR: Don’t get a tivo box. Get a V+ HD box.

The UI is terrible.

  • There is a massive ad banner across the top of the screen when in most of the menus, taking up valuable “screen real-estate”. We’re paying for this service. Don’t serve us ads.
  • Too many screens are branded with virgin media & tivo logos which takes up space.
  • Pressing the “off” button doesn’t turn it off. You need to confirm turning it off by pressing the “off” button again. You can’t double-tap off, you need to press, wait, then press it again.
  • The UI is not customizeable. not many of these services are, but they should be. It would solve so many problems. E.G. Favourite apps. There is an item on the home screen called “cool for kids”. I don’t need this, why can this not simply be replaced with a list of favourite apps?
  • When the UI is set to high contrast mode, the only parts changed are the tv guide and info bar. Not a problem for me, per se, but for someone with sight difficulties this will not help them at all.
  • The animations on menus and the bleep sounds are a bit overkill. I can disable the sounds, but not the animations.
  • For some people in my household the “get series link” did not immediately say what it meant. “Record this series” is a more immediate identifier.

The system isn’t very good either.

  • The menu seems to lag a lot between commands given by the remote and the system acting on these commands. It shouldn’t be resource-intensive to browse menus.
  • On the remote, the play/pause buttons are separate buttons. Seriously. Every other service has the play-pause button combined into one.
  • Intermittently, the box makes a quiet mysterious clicking noise, like old computer disk drives.
  • The built-in youtube app sometimes clips the audio.
  • The built-in YouTube app can be very laggy and/or crashy.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that I don’t know if these problems lie with Tivo, or with Virgin Media. Similarly, neither probably have control over the youtube app. That besides, I would have expected virgin media to at least give the system a proper “once-over” if they are going to be putting their name on something.

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My Tivo box is having an existential crisis

I am so much more productive in the morning.


Current version of the win8 style sidebar. See side of this post for live example.

It is still slightly broken, though.


Windows 8 - style charms bar in javascript, html and css

Sample gif 1 - GitHub

Still to do:

  • Make better buttons
  • Add content to other panels
  • Add transition animations