"Once upon a time, The End."
Jake the Dog

[Continued from this post]

Yet more problems with tivo by Virgin Media.

After having lived with a new tivo box for a while now, I have come across something rather enlightening. And annoying. Not only will the box, by default, record things it thinks you will like, but it does worse as well: It will auto-delete programs if it thinks you have too many of them.

At most, only 10 episodes of a series will record, then they will be erased. Not when you have little space left, as the V+ box will do, but when you get more than 10 episodes.

This is stupid and makes no sense. Deleting programs when there is no space does make sense, but not when you have a bunch of unwatched episodes lying around with plenty of remaining space.

After screwing around in the options menu for a while I eventually discovered the setting that lets you change this. So I changed it to never delete anything [because who knows what “delete when i’m running out of space” means to this box].

This did not update any of my series recordings series links. I had to update the same settings on each of the series links. This was tedious for many reasons.

The Box menu is laggy. Me and my quick response mind (which works with every other piece of technology I own) quickly tapped buttons on the remote. This did nothing, and then all of a sudden the box executes every single action I entered one after the other, with painfully slow animation between each of the menus.

Call me impatient if you will, but these animations really are the worst.

This became more of an issue because I had done the idiotic thing of try to re-arrange my series link priorities (which on the v+ box was a non-issue). Every time I left that menu it would leave a pop-up telling me it was still updating these. This added an extra unprecedented step, which meant the buttons I had pressed made no sense to the machine.

Eventually, I got to a screen that let me change the setting for a particular series link [much too many “clicks” away for a good UX, by the way] I then had to wait far too long for it to update, let me press the “ok” button, and return to the main menu, all the while waiting for the tedious animations to happen.

I then had to repeat this for the other 12 or so series links I had pre-set before making the change to the default menu.

Well done, virgin media, on making and/or endorsing crap software. I doubt this will be the last of my issues.

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.


My Tivo box is having an existential crisis

I am so much more productive in the morning.