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Explain it to me: TiVo/DirecTV easier to use...

Discussion in 'DIRECTV HD DVR/Receiver Discussion' started by Earl Bonovich, Oct 8, 2007.

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  1. Oct 8, 2007 #41 of 302

    Sharkie_Fan Hall Of Fame

    Sep 26, 2006
    OK... after reading through the rest of this thread, hoopsbwc34 has caused me to change my answer slightly!

    I prefer the HR20 UI to the Tivo... As so many have pointed out, the speed which everything runs is night and day over my old Tivos. I love being able to set my defaults and set up a series link with two clicks of the record button!

    Personally, I prefer the HR20 remote to the Tivo remote simply because of it's size. While the common complaint seems to be that it's big and bulky, I find the Tivo peanut remote to be too small for my hands. My poor fat fingers are always hitting the wrong buttons - especially now that the Tivo has been relegated to the bedroom and we're watching it in the evening before bed with the lights turned down... so I can't see what I'm doing anyway and trying to do it by feel... The HR20 remote took a little getting used to as far as location of the buttons, but now that I know where they are - and it's the machine I use most frequently - I feel much more comfortable using it than the other...

    HOWEVER... after reading through this, hoopsbwc34 makes a good point. The HR20 did take a little more learning to figure out where things are. My wife is semi-technical, and she doesn't really want to do anything on the HR20. My mother-in-law, on the other hand, is NOT at all technical... But we bought them a SA Tivo a couple of years ago, and she hasn't had any problems working through it.

    I HATE juggling through a dozen screens to set up a recording. For her, though, it's perfect... That sort of simplicity is fantastic for her, and it drives me up the wall nuts!!

    So, Earl, to answer your question, I think the "UI Excuse" comes down to which side of the fence you come down on that particular issue. Do you want your DVR to hold your hand through every process, or do you want your DVR to "back off" and let you do it all. I prefer the HR20's hands off approach, while my mother in law would most certainly prefer the hand holding.
  2. Oct 8, 2007 #42 of 302

    erhan Cool Member

    Aug 28, 2007
    I define "ease of use" as a factor of how much the UI/System guides the user as opposed to just dumps you a whole bunch of features/functions to chose from. It's also a factor of how much information you need to process and the decision tree you have to go through to go to the next step.

    If you step back and look at the general UI philosophy, HR20 has very full screens where the end user is left to navigate to the various controls, figure out the next best step and use various "shortcuts" with the use of colored buttons. Tivo UI, on the other hand, is always in "guide" mode where the user is given natural choices of the next step and the default selection is almost always the most natural one.

    Many people have commented on the speed of single-click record and two-click season pass. An end user needs to learn/know the double-click, whereas on a Tivo when I click the record button I can get to season passes (which also guides me through the steps as opposed to HR20 UI where the user has to navigate to the buttons/fields) or just click again to simply record once. If you are a power user, you can definitely take advantage of the HR20 much better. This applies to all UI design, not just Tivo or HR20. (I happen to work in UI design, so have some experience with this stuff).

    If you want to reach a larger audience, who never really read user guides and still make it a successful UI, "guidance" is mandatory. That's why many web sites and products offer wizards as opposed to a dump of all available options. Same concept applies to surveys where you go a step by step as opposed to 100 questions on one screen with a progress train. (that and the fact that the survey are a bit more dynamic these days require that, but you get the point).

    Bottom line, 90% of the audience would find Tivo UI easier to navigate (less info to process, more guidance, better defaults) compared to HR20 (fewer screens, targeted more toward power users, no guidance). After the learning curve, it's a different story but the first impressions will always last.
  3. Oct 8, 2007 #43 of 302

    Nighty Cool Member

    Sep 4, 2007
    Here's a couple of quick things off the top of my head.

    For me, it all about the Remote. For TiVo, you know you always hit the TiVo button to get the top level menu, and then navigate from there.

    For the HR20, you hit List to get to "Now playing", or Menu for setup items, etc...

    I find it hard to use the two sets of controls on the HR20, the top ones for playback control, and the lower ones for navigating the menus and such.

    I like the TiVo guide better than HR20 Grid guide. Not sure why, maybe it's just that I am used to it...
  4. Oct 8, 2007 #44 of 302

    dchamero Cool Member

    Feb 27, 2006

    I completely missed that, and I can't find it. Can you please tell me how you change the default recording options???

  5. Oct 8, 2007 #45 of 302

    richlife Hall Of Fame

    Dec 4, 2006
    I always felt that the Tivo interface was something that you had to learn to use -- and since we all had it first, we learned it and became comfortable with it. But it was still a learning experience. Also, the remote was better organized so that while holding it in one hand, you could reach most buttons needed without moving your hand.

    But as soon as I started using the HR20 interface, everything fell into place. I was using a computer and the logic was comparable to any other computer I had used, so I didn't really have to learn anything. That was the way it should have been. The remote is clearly not designed for easy one hand operation -- keys just aren't grouped right (I could explain how to easily fix the problem, but that's a remote design issue, not an interface issue).

    I think most people have two problems with the HR20. 1) They had to use it differently and, if they weren't already a computer user, that logic didn't apply. 2) The remote, though a separate issue, is tied to use of the interface and causes that negative to be cast as an interface issue.

    On the additional plus side of the HR20, everything (including the remote) can be improved, there are many simpler operations and most problems are a software change away from resolution (for example, the CC access, Menu revisions, etc.). And finally, there has never been a product (let alone DVR) that has gotten the prompt and attentive response to customer input that the HR20 has. Aside from any problems, this is what has caused an almost complete turnaround in customer attitude on this Forum and for most HR20 customers like Joe Sixpack.
  6. Oct 8, 2007 #46 of 302

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Can you say "Press & Hold"? :) /steve
  7. Oct 8, 2007 #47 of 302

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    I generally agree with Drew's observations, though I will say that Speed was no longer an issue for me once I finally got the 6.x update. Ya the HR20 is still faster, but the 6.x DirecTivo was fast enough. Unlike before, Season's Passes were setting up within seconds for me.

    Like Drew, I sorely miss the TiVo-style GUIDE as well.

    And of course there's the Peanut. To this day, I still haven't found a remote that feels as good in my hand, or has such responsive tactile feedback. And I've tried about every universal that's out there. /steve
  8. Oct 8, 2007 #48 of 302

    inkahauts Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2006
    I have and still use both HR10 and HR20 on a daily basis, and there is nothing I like better on the tivo, especially the guide. I hate the one guide everyone here seems to love. Sorry. I hate both remotes, I use an MX-850 for both. The only place I see the tivo having an advantage right now is in the searches and program info, and that will continue to get better on the HR20 over time, as it has with the most recent ce, so I really can't make a final judgment about that at this time. I have to go through multiple screens to get to the to do list of season pass manager on a tivo, just as I do on an HR20, so I don't see that as a difference, other than I can hit a button that I've already memorized to get there instead of being forced to navigate a msnu on the tivo. And of course, no one is complaining about speed on the HR20 in comparison to the HR10. As for dlb, its a great feature, for the one or two hours a week I might actually watch live tv. The other 100 hours are all recorded programs anyway, so, oh well. In the end, I think its all about how you use your machine and your own personal preferences, but I can say that most of the features and gui enhancements that I would like to see on the HR20 are not things I would steal from a tivo, but from the other dvr's out there that were truly better than tivo could ever be ... (anyone here ever use a ultimate tv, or easily the best machine I've ever owned, a replayTV?
  9. Oct 8, 2007 #49 of 302

    Leftcoastdave Legend

    Apr 2, 2004
    Since you asked...

    1. The Tivo remote can have up to (IIRC) 7 IR codes, the HR20 remote only 2 forcing a 3rd HR20 unit to RF, useless when you haev a universal remote that is IR only.

    2. Tivo Shortcuts. Love them. No such quick access on HR20
    a. Tivo 1 ==> Season Pass Mgr
    b. Tivo 2 ==> To Do List
    c. Tivo 3 ==> Wishlists

    3. No HR20 Wishlist. On the HR20 I have to reengage a successful prior search to check to see if non autorecord items are coming up. Simple Example -- I search periodically for Virginia Tech sporting events using Tivo Wishlists. Tivo3/select and go.

    4. Hate HR20 need to list/yellow to see to do list. I want direct access to the to do list from a color button such as the underutilized blue button.

    5. Ergonomics of the remote are awful. I finally bought a Harmony 720 so I could standardize cruise control on the lower half of the remote.

    6. Dislike confusion between "back" and "exit". Multiple exits throw you out of a playback so if not a recording, the buffer is blown. You are screwed if watching a live sporting event on a delayed basis..

    7. Wasted real estate on most if not all of the HR20 screens. Too much HTML whereas the Tivo has uncluttered line items and colored buttons.

    8. Weak info in program guide. One great Tivo feature is the ability to see original play date on guide entries. That is the best way to determine if a program is a repeat or not.

    9. I hate mandatory groupings. I prefer to watch in chron order, the wife likes groupings. At least with the Tivo you can turn groups on or off.

    10. Search results on the HR 20 drive me nuts. If I go to the trouble to set up custom guides, I do NOT want to get search results returned for channels I do not get.

    11. I despise the 27-30 second slide, instead of an actual 30 second jump. The ff video is distracting. I want an option to blank the video so I don't see it when skipping.

    12. Menu panels are boring. Any pro design artist will tell you to avoid mixing font sizes and colors as it is fatigues the eyes. Non standard menus keep popping up at strange times. Example: If I hit menu I get one result showing favorites in the 3rd or fourth position. If I am inside a sub menu and I hit menu again, Favorites is often down in the 7th position.

    13. Why must I click list/yellow/arrow/arrow etc to get to Prioritizer. Give me direct menu access to items like Prioritizer, To Do, etc. See my first comment on short cuts which can be quickly learned. Example: Blue1 ->List, Blue2->To Do, Blue 3->Prioritizer... you get the idea.

    14. I like the fact that the left arrow acts as a backspace key when searching for shows. It saves time if you want to search multiple titles without having to go back and delete, especially if you make a typo.

    15. I don't like having to wait 24 hours while the guide repops itself following a reset. Newly installed or recently reset units are not very useable for searches following an RBR or a CE.

    I have owned Replays, Tivo's and now HR20's. There is a lot to like about the HR20, but there are also a lot of improvements that could be made as evidenced by the ever growing list I have seen in this thread.

    That is all...
  10. Oct 8, 2007 #50 of 302

    DogLover Hall Of Fame

    Mar 18, 2007
    I think hoops is on the right track here. With the Tivo interface, there is is one way to get to each function, or very limited multiple ways. You go to main menu, select high level functional categories there. You drill down into each menu until you perform the desired function. If you read each menu, you will eventually find each option. (While there may be options that aren't in an obvioius place, the vast majority are obvious.) This makes the user feel like they know how do do everything on the system. Therefore, they think it is an easy interface.

    The HR20's interface is set up differently. While it does have a menu, you can get to functions other ways as well. (For example, you can get to the ToDo list from the Playlist.) This makes the interface more flexible. However, it doesn't necessarily make people think of it as more intuitive.

    Another example of this is the context sensitive menu items. While they are powerful, unless you know that these items are there, it may not occur to you that these options exist. It never occured to me to press menu on the record series screen until I read here that that's where the recording defaults were. This makes people feel that options are hidden or missing, not easy and intuitive.

    I have a saying that when it comes to response time, perception is reality. If the user thinks it takes too long, it takes too long. It doesn't matter what the clock says. The same principle applies ease of use. If people think something is easy, it is easy. It wouldn't matter if you have objective data showing that it took longer to learn than something else.
  11. Oct 8, 2007 #51 of 302
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    I'm sorry, boss, I can't help ya.

    Maybe I have a preternatural gift for understanding user interfaces, but I find neither the TiVo interface nor the DIRECTV interface particularly difficult.

    If you're asking which interface will let me get to the business of watching and recording television faster and easier, DIRECTV would have to win out, with the picture-in-guide, 1-touch record, 2-touch series link, and instant prioritizer sorting.

    If you're saying which interface has more friendly features designed for the first-time user, I would have to guess TiVo, mostly because the interface is controlled by the vastly superior TiVo peanut remote.

    If you're asking what I would rather be doing, using TiVo or using a DIRECTV-branded receiver... I'd have to reply that I'd rather be watching TV. That's my bottom line.
  12. Oct 8, 2007 #52 of 302
    Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

    Jun 7, 2004
    Dawson, Georgia
    Whenever we first got a TiVo, I never bothered to learn to use it, I simply used it.

    Whenever I got a HR20, I had to learn to use it... which required reading of the FAQs on DBSTalk.com... as the book wasn't much help, and the instinctiveness of the TiVo just wasn't there. In the last two days, I learned several new things about how to use the HR20... I'm sure there is still more to learn...

  13. Oct 8, 2007 #53 of 302

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Well said, DL. I've spent a lot of years managing/consulting UI developers for some major software application companies and some heavily-trafficked web sites. Based on my experience with user focus groups, truer words were never spoken.

    Apple, e.g., is a classic example of a company who's mantra is "perception is reality". The guys at TiVo borrowed a page from their book, IMO. Too bad they can't come up with a viable business model. :) /steve
  14. Oct 8, 2007 #54 of 302
    Alan Gordon

    Alan Gordon Chancellor

    Jun 7, 2004
    Dawson, Georgia
    While this is one of my most critical issues with the HR20 (no way to save searches being the other), even the DirecTiVos have their issues compared to the stand-alone units.

    Not only do they list original play dates, they offer put what season and what episode number on the list. Whereas the DirecTiVo might have the regular cast of a series and perhaps a guest star or two, the stand-alones might list ALL the guest stars. I've seen movies with 30 people listed on my stand-alones...

    Hopefully DirecTV can get around to offering this on the HR20... SOON!!

  15. Oct 8, 2007 #55 of 302

    mikeny Hall Of Fame

    Aug 20, 2006
    Original air date was awesome with the HR10 (my only TiVo). It would be great if that came to the HR20. I keep looking at "2007" and I don't know if that's this season or last season.
  16. Oct 8, 2007 #56 of 302

    Jafo350 New Member

    May 26, 2007
    1. Tivo Live Guide is much easier to use and much more informative, more channels and more hours on screen
    2. Wishlist: type in the name of a program and set it to record even if it is'nt in the guide
    3. Now Playing List : pick a show, watch and delete, when you go back to the list you are right where you left off, not back at the very top like on the HR20
    4. Dual Live Buffers: and both can be paused. Then when you go back to the show it is still paused if you didnt run out of buffer
    5. Remote: on the HR20 registers far too many double button presses
    6. Skip to tick/ Skip to end
    7. Season pass list: Tivo nedded 2 button presses to get to this screen HR20 about 7 button presses from live TV
    8. Tivo remote worked the volume on my stereo. The HR20 does'nt have a code that works properly, last I checked
    9. Info: Tivo gives more info in the guide and about each show
    10. Slow motion: Tivo has a button for this
    11. Search: Tivo only searches for shows on the Channels I Get
  17. Oct 8, 2007 #57 of 302

    waporvare Cool Member

    Sep 18, 2007
    I think the argument about DLB not making it easier would be a losing argument on your part. It makes it much easier to watch two programs at once without having to record both. For sports fans that's a huge plus as it doesn't take up any recording space. Heck, at this point I'd be happy if you could just get SLB working right. Nothing more irritating than going to a recorded program for a second and then going back to a live channel only to find the buffer is gone.

    See, all that is easier on the tivo, because it freaking works.
  18. Oct 8, 2007 #58 of 302

    homerdodge New Member

    Sep 9, 2007
    I've had various models of Tivos since the first standalone unit was introduced, and every version of the integrated DirecTv-Tivos since the first of these was introduced, up through the HR10-250, now retired in our home.

    The HR10-250 was certainly the most troubled child of the family, but for purely quality issues, many of which I didn't experience but many other people did.

    The HR20-700 is fine in my opinion. Yes it's different, but in terms of design some things are better and some things are not as good. I'm not referring to what I'll call quality issues like shows not getting recorded. Those aren't by design of course and will get fixed, hopefully sooner rather than later.

    Luckily I haven't experienced much of that except where an autorecord series link records a channel we don't receive. Design-wise, there needs to be a way to exempt channels from the autorecord, and I'm not aware of a way to do that. Of course you can get rid of the autorecod link and have discrete links for each channel you can get the show on (e.g., Antiques Roadshow on one or another PBS station).

    The one thing that drives me nuts though is that managing Series Links is a pain in the ass. In the Tivo, you went to the main menu, selected the Select Programs to Record(?) option (good lord I'm starting to forget the actual names already) and selected manage Season Passes. Once there you could add/change/delete/reprioritize any season pass. Yes, reprioritizing is slow in Tivos, as it reassesses shows in real time when you move a pass up or down.

    In the HR20, the only way I know to get to the Series Links is to get to the ToDo list through the List button. Not very intuitive.

    If a show you want to modify the series link for is in the ToDo list, great, select the show and then select Rec. Ser. on the left menu. You can make your changes to the series link for that show or cancel it, but you can't reprioritize here.

    If there is no show on the todo list, then you have to select Prioritizer, to access the complete list of series links, where you can reprioritize them, quickly.

    If there are episodes scheduled for a link in the Prioritizer, you can select the link and then you can select Rec. Series on the left menu, where you can then change or cancel the link.

    If there are no episides scheduled for that link, you cannot select it to change it. All you can do is reprioritize it or delete it. Not necessarily what you want to do, for shows that are just on hiatus or off-season.

    So, the overarching problem here, for me, is that there are too many places you have to go to do everything you may want to do with a Series Link, and getting to the links is counter-intuitieve to start with.

    Having come from a PTV-upgrade HR10-250, I do miss being able to relatively quickly download ty files to my PC and transcoding and burning the shows offline to DVDs. So, it's back to recording on a DVD recorder connected to the HR20, which requires playing the show in its entirety, tieing up the HR20.
  19. Oct 8, 2007 #59 of 302

    tyke Mentor

    Aug 20, 2007
    I believe the Tivo interface is much more simple to use than the HR20. It seems that the HR20 has too much stuff available in the primary menus and some thing that should be there are not. My 3 year old figured out how to play show on the tivo, now he is 5 and is still struggling with the HR20 interface. With the Tivo he could hit the DirecTV button twice, arrow down to his show and hit play. With the HR20 I have put a sticker on the list button, but he still struggles with finding his show. It could be that there is so much more on the screen now. Let me tell you that at 6AM on a weekend having to get up and play a show for him is a major downer.
  20. Oct 8, 2007 #60 of 302

    uscboy Godfather

    Sep 5, 2006
    Not to mention that you cannot do that with any HD recordings, you can only
    capture an SD version realistically.

    I'm 100% against signal theft when it comes to D* hacking, but I wish they'd
    lighten up on the encryption on the HR20 recordings. Have to say I'd get an
    eSATA drive tomorrow if I could hook it up to my computer and transfer
    recordings. Didn't they get the memo from Steve Jobs and Amazon? DRM is so
    yesterday... heh.

    Between the more intuitive menu system, which has been summed up well by
    others in this thread, and the ability to transfer and archive shows, Tivo wins in
    my book. Especially since an updated Tivo would be faster and look better,
    something lot of the folks voting No are failing to realize - they're making it an HR20
    versus HR10-250 thing and it wouldn't be like that.
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