I have now been officially on FiOS TV, along with a pair of Tivo Premieres, for 11 days, and I am actually leaning heavily toward canceling, and going back to DTV - especially if I can get my hands on a pair of new HR24s. The issue isn't FiOS. In fact, my FiOS service and PQ have been fine. I do have to say, in my opinion DTV has slightly better PQ - at least for the channels I watch on my 63" Sami plasma. Must be the DTV signal processing since FiOS apparently has the advantage on bandwidth.
Now on to my dilema. In a nutshell, I am very disappointed with the Tivos, and not just because of problems or defects with them, but also because of some of the basic functionality they lack. Not to say there aren't problems or defects. Between the two units I have running, I've had to hard reboot about 10 times in the last 11 days, as they seem to lock up a lot. The lockups have occurred either after a channel lineup change, or while accessing music or video from the network. It could be an issue with my network I suppose, but they still shouldn't lock up and be completely unresponsive. We're talking about pulling the power plug here. The other problem is that he new flash interface is very laggy. So laggy, that I have finally moved back to the old menu, which seems to work much better.
As for missing functionality, many of these are nitpicks, and specific to my needs. Lets just say that I definitely have a new found appreciation for the HR21, and suspect that the HR24 is probably the best DVR on the market. Hard to believe, based on some of the fiery HR20 forum posts from a few short years ago. DTV has really made the investment (unlike Tivo).
Here are are a few of the negatives of the Tivo Premieres. Again, some of these are specific to my needs/tastes:
1. No RF remote. Big issue since I share one of these DVRs between two TVs in different rooms. It's also a pain to watch TV in bed now, as I have to hold the remote up in the air and aim it (I know, poor me!). I do have an old IR to RF repeater system working, but it's not a very elegant setup and it doesn't work very well. I know I can add RF capability to the Tivo remote via a special battery, but that's another $100 on top of the $550 I already spent on these units. On a positive note, I've always liked the Tivo peanut remotes, and when I have line of sight, the Tivo's remote is smooth and responsive, with little if any lag, except when on the Flash based menus (more on that later).
2. No coaxial digital audio out (Toslink only). As I mentioned, I share one of my DVRs between two entertainment areas, and my setup employs four coax cables between the areas to pass component video to the 2nd TV, and digital audio to the 2nd receiver. Again, I know I can buy a Toslink to coax converter, but that's more money, and I'm not sure how well it will work. The coax runs are around 40 feet. By the way, the Tivo's component out signal appears to be slightly stronger than the HR21's, as the picture on my 2nd TV is noticeably better over the 40 foot coax run.
3. I won't recap all of the GUI limitations with the Premieres, as plenty of other reviews and postings have pointed them out, but honestly, based on my experience, I would still have to classify the Tivo Premiere as a beta product at this point. For example, when you press the Tivo button while watching a show, the audio cuts out for a second or two. Not a big deal, but it's annoying. The HR21 certainly never did that. Also, many of the GUI menus are still the same old Tivo menus I had back in 2002 with my series 1 boxes, and whenever you switch over to them from the Flash menus, the mini-picture and sound disappear.
4. No FiOS on-demand content. Yes, this was a known limitation when I signed up, as were many of the other limitations I mentioned, so I won't blame FiOS or Tivo. And, yes, I have Amazon and Netflix now, but it's a relevant limitation. I already have Netflix on my PS3, and what I could really use is Hulu access.
5. The much talked about FiOS copy flag issue will supposedly render my MRV capability useless since Tivo still copies the content to the other receiver, though I haven't actually experienced this yet. The MRV functionality actually works very well with the Tivos. Nothing like having the data local for trick play. I haven't had an opportunity to see the HR24s in action yet with DECA, but I suspect MRV has improved over the HR21 MRV, which was solid, but a little slugish at times.
6. The 30 minute pause buffer is too short.
7. I can't use my eSATA drives with the Tivos, so I will either have to spend another $250 just to buy the official Tivo approved HDDs, or assuming a Premiere-specific utility appears at some point, replace the internal HDDs, which means I void my warranty.
So, now I have a short few days left before my 30-day Tivo cancellation period ends, and about 2 weeks for my FiOS cancellation period. I was actually considering a Moxi setup, but I think I would still end up missing my HR21s. I have come to the conclusion that DTV is the most serious about home entertainment. TV is basically all they do, and they do it well. Yes, they command a premium over FiOS (for now at least), but I'm starting to think it's worth it for the consistent service and better DVRs. Still, I think I'm going to call DTV tomorrow to cancel, and see if they will come up with a compelling reason for me to stay (as in a pair of HR24s). If they do, I will definitely just cancel FiOS and Tivo and re-up with DTV. If they don't, I may just stay with DTV anyway. Even the HR21s are better than these Tivos.
Edited by apet8464, 27 July 2010 - 11:20 PM.