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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 #61 of 302

    homerdodge New Member

    Sep 9, 2007
    Sorry, forgot to mention DLB. Gotta have dual-live buffers. There are times, such as when you have a show that ends after a series link cut off time, when that would come in handy.

    With a Tivo, if you were on one tuner, and a show was being recorded by a Season Pass on the other tuner, and the show ended late so that the Pass didn't catch the last few minutes, and if you happended to notice that within the next 30 minutes and nothing else caused that tuner to change channels, you had the chance to switch to that tuner and capture or watch that last few minutes.

    Or sometimes, you would want to simply change to the other tuner to catch something it just happended to be on it, perhaps on a channel that tuner was on because of a prior scheduled recording, and you'd be able to record that show, at least going back for the last 30 minutes and going forward.

    Channels like Discovery, History, etc. have many shows that might prove interesting and let's face it, you can't spend hours studying the guide to see what's on all the stations out there. Sometimes there's stuff you run across by chance, when you have two independent tuners you can see, select and control.

    So, basically, it's for those serendipitous situations, where you just chance on something, rather than the planned recordings that we can of course pre-schedule in the HR20.

    And sometime, you just want to pause the show you're watching, quickly switch to the other tuner to check some other channel and go back quickly without having to screw around with first recording the current channel so you can switch the other tuner, and then having to stop the recording if you want to change to something else or don't want that show preserved.

    With Tivos we often would look at the banner to see what was on the other tuner without actually switching to that tuner, thereby not interrupting the current show we were viewing.

    It's just convenient to have dual live buffers. Yes, are we surviving without it, but we could also survive without a DVR, perish the thought. We don't want the expense and inconvenience of multiple DVRs in the one room; Not a very practical alternative.
  2. Oct 8, 2007 #62 of 302

    Drew2k New Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    I can certainly see the validity of some of the other posters talking about how you can point the remote at the TiVo and just follow on-screen prompts to get something done, but IMHO, that was done at the expense of actually watching either live TV or a recording. Everything on TiVo is setup like a Wizard, which is great for newbies, but you have to stop watching something in order to actually do something on TiVo, whether it's searching, checking To Do, managing season passes, or whatever.

    I will admit that if you get the HR20 and never read the manual, you will be "behind" right out of the box, because some things ARE hard to find. For example, before DIRECTV added the RED=DELETE option to the To Do list, I had no clue to go to "Rec. Once" to cancel the upcoming recording.

    Also, who would know from the screen that there's an option to set Recording Defaults? To set defaults, you have to be on either the "Rec. Once..." or "Rec. Series..." screen and hit MENU. Then choose "Record Defaults" and go through an awkward menu of individual items.

    Is there room for improvement on the HR20? Certainly, just as I think the TiVo interface could be improved.
  3. Oct 8, 2007 #63 of 302

    Drew2k New Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    Press SELECT on any future program in the guide to get to the Info screen. Choose either "Rec. Once" or "Rec. Series". Then press MENU and select "Record Defaults" from there.
  4. Oct 8, 2007 #64 of 302

    dchamero Cool Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    Wow, that's what I call an awkwardly hidden option.... it should be part of the main SETUP... anyway...

    Thank you for the hint!!!!
  5. Oct 8, 2007 #65 of 302

    Drew2k New Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    Your welcome. The key is actually to be on any Record Once or Record Series screen, and using the guide to get there is only one of many ways. I do agree that it's an obscure setting that is not readily apparent, and in the past I've posted suggestions for moving this to the Setup or adding it on the Scheduler screen, where the rest of the recording menu items are located...
  6. Oct 8, 2007 #66 of 302

    carl6 Moderator Staff Member DBSTalk Club

    Nov 15, 2005
    Seattle, WA
    I learned the DirecTV interface before I learned the Tivo interface. As a result, I have found the DirecTV interface to be more familiar, and therefore easier for me to use.

    I have only had one Tivo based device (an R10 DirecTivo), and I only had that active for about six months. Because everything else I had was DirecTV interface, I personally found keeping the Tivo active and having to really stop and think about what I was doing every time I went to use it, just didn't work for me.

    So my R10 with six months total usage on it is sitting on the shelf.

  7. Oct 8, 2007 #67 of 302

    armophob Difficulty Concen........

    Nov 13, 2006
    Fort Pierce, FL
    Bottom line from the new user standpoint,

    When I first got my Hr10-250 tivo, I briefly browsed the manual and started playing.

    When I first got my HR20, I got so frustrated I started searching for answers on the internet and found this forum. Thank goodness.
  8. Oct 9, 2007 #68 of 302

    cartrivision Hall Of Fame

    Jul 25, 2007
    Just another example of the grossly incompetent UI design engineers and the horrendous mistakes their lack of education with regards to UI design has produced. Who the fvck comes up with the idea of implementing a hidden setup option like that????????? I'm going to keep repeating it until I'm blue in the face..... D* needs to hire an AI design engineer who actually has the proper education and experience in human factors engineering/UI design theory and techniques to oversee the UI design. This POS UI obviously was and continues to be designed by people completely unqualified to do so.
  9. Oct 9, 2007 #69 of 302

    marksman Godfather

    Dec 23, 2006
    I have not used the Series 3 TiVo, but all incarnations up to them.

    For me the DirecTV is more intuitive then the older ones is easier to use because first of all you can do EVERYTHING while watching television. We are doing this on a tv, where the primary goal is to watch TV. The older Tivos all had you spend WAY too much time going back to a non-tv environment to do things. It was always jolting.

    Recording programs is also infinitely easier in the HR20. A single button click on the guide and your program is good to go. Two clicks and you have a season pass. Conflict resolution is much easier as well.

    It is just much easier to be patient with the HR20 because you can always be listening/watching. Going into sort season passes on the TiVo eventually just became a no-go waste of time for me.

    Both devices have numerous short cuts, but the HR20 has done a much better job of documenting many of the short cuts in the interface itself. TiVo essentially did not hint to any of their short cuts in the actual UI. Also it is nice having a bar that tells you how much space you have used. Probably the single dumbest thing TiVo fought against adding for years and years.

    Being a TiVo owner since 1999, and a huge fan of their products, I have a hard time of coming up with any interface features I really miss from the TiVo to the HR20. Probably the only one is the grid style guide. I really liked the guide. That guide with the HR20 one / two touch record and conflict resolution would be the best of both worlds.
  10. Oct 9, 2007 #70 of 302

    dvisthe Legend

    May 26, 2007
    Took me a while to get used to The Directv interface, But I like it 100 times better than the Tivo interface now.

    But I just miss the information, like the original air date!
  11. Oct 9, 2007 #71 of 302
    mr anderson

    mr anderson Legend

    Oct 6, 2006
    I would say that while in some ways the HR20 is a better at watching shows already recorded, Tivo is by far a better tv viewing experience in general.

    Things that the tivo has, such as better remote, better gui and interface (opinion), and the ability to swap back and forth between turners make it better, in my opinion, to actually watch TV in real time.

    I often find myself waiting until after a show records before I'll even go watch it, whereas on my old tivo I would go right away and watch it.
  12. Oct 9, 2007 #72 of 302

    wisem10 Cool Member

    Aug 17, 2006
    This is a very interesting thread for me as both a HR10 / HR20 owner and a professional usability engineer (yah, it's a real job).

    In the original post Earl posed a question regarding the ease of use the respective DVR's. He also mentioned the intuitiveness of the UI's. I think that there is often a muddling of these two terms, as evidenced by many of the replies, not to mention the confounding of usable with other variables. For example, as a metric usability is a different variable than performance (i.e., how fast the system responds), capability (i.e., functions available), and reliability (e.g., how frequently is a recording missed). Now all of these affect the overall user experience, but are different variables.

    Usability is typically measured in terms of the number of recoverable errors and critical errors (i.e., not able to recover) are observed while a user is trying to complete tasks with a system. From a strict usability perspective here are are a few areas in which the Tivo UI has better usability that the HR20, IMO.

    1. The navigation is more straightforward with the Tivo; having a single main menu from which the majority of the system's options are accessed is a simpler, more streamlined interaction that minimizes user error.

    2. In general, the Tivo provides better feedback than the HR 20. With the Tivo for most every action, there is verbose feedback / confirmation that is provided to the end user. For example, while people (me included) like the HR20's one click to record and two click to set a SL function this action does not provide good visual feedback nor, in the case of SL, is this an intuitive action. With the Tivo the user is presented with a screen that contains text describing the options that are available (record / set Season pass), while the HR20 shows a small red dot at the top of the screen for one click (which is easy to miss - and only moderately intuitive) and shows the multi red dots for a two click / SL which is not in the least bit intuitive. Is it simpler, once you know how to do it? Yes. Is it more intuitive? Absolutely not.

    3. Remote control usage is simpler with the Tivo. With the Tivo, virtually every function can be accessed using five buttons on the remote (Tivo/DirecTV, up, down, left, right, select). This is mostly due to the way that navigation is set up (see #1). But, more importantly, there are no core views that have to be accessed using completely non-intuitive and arbitrary buttons (i.e., the yellow button to access the to-do list).

    That said, I do like my HR20, and do appreciate the improved performance, faster access to items through short cuts, and added features (caller ID / picture in guide). I also think that with some changes the HR20 can have a very good user experience that comes close to the Tivo's.

    Just my two cents, I apologize for having wasted 10 minutes of your life that you'll never get back. :)

  13. Oct 9, 2007 #73 of 302

    2000voltz Legend

    Sep 21, 2007
    I think the real key to this is who had what unit "first" I think change is a bigger issue than anyone whats to give it credit. I had a E* dvr before the tivo and I never real got adjusted to the tivo and now the HR20 is so much more similiar (but improved) to my "first" dvr I feel more comfortable with it.
  14. Oct 9, 2007 #74 of 302
    Lee L

    Lee L Hall Of Fame

    Aug 15, 2002
    I will not get teh HR20s until this weekend, but I would say in general that it is much easier to use a DVR to watch your shows when it actually records those shows. ;)

    In truth, I never used the TiVo style guide and based on what I am reading here it seems like I will like the HR20 menu system just fine.
  15. Oct 9, 2007 #75 of 302
    Earl Bonovich

    Earl Bonovich Lifetime Achiever

    Nov 15, 2005
    So having the Recording Defaults.... available in the RECORDING menu, while in the screen that you setup your Recordings....

    Vs... back in a SETUP screen, that you can't get to, while in the Recording screen...

    Is *** ed.... it isn't hidden...

    But the manual does LACK in a lot of areas, where things like this particular one... could easily be corrected in.
  16. Oct 9, 2007 #76 of 302

    Drew2k New Member

    Aug 16, 2006
    It was only three minutes - I read quickly. ;)

    You make excellent points, however, and hopefully DIRECTV takes these comments to heart. I've been a proponent from the beginning of adding more instructions on screen, especially regarding use of the color buttons. I also think there need to be instructions on screen when the menu has items that appear only for the current screen. For example, there are different context-sensitive menu options on the following screens, but you'd never know that unless you hit MENU while in one of the screens: Playlist, Search, Guide. Add a simple instruction like "Press MENU for more options on this screen." and DIRECTV will go a long way towards improving usability.
  17. Oct 9, 2007 #77 of 302
    Stuart Sweet

    Stuart Sweet The Shadow Knows!

    Jun 18, 2006
    Very true. I used to know someone who said no word processor would ever measure up to the first one she learned, which was kludgy and confusing by today's standards but it's what she learned. Same person looked critically at any new video game system and pronounced every one a failure because it would not play "Burger Time".

    The title of the thread is "easier to use" and I think it's fair to have that discussion, but the question is, "easier to use for whom"? The person who has had 3 minutes to look at the DVR or the person who uses it every day?

    TiVo has a very shallow learning curve and it welcomes in the uninitiated. Armophob and others are right to point out how you can use it easily with under 5 minutes' commitment.

    However, in my opinion the DIRECTV interface is more powerful, and more powerful programs require more commitment. Is the learning curve steeper, maybe. But new HR20s come with a very nice quick start guide that can help get the user up and running quickly. FWIW the DIRECTV R10's user manual was just about as confusing as the HR20's... and the only reason it was more accurate was that the R10 never, ever, got any new features.
  18. Oct 9, 2007 #78 of 302

    Steve Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Well that's only partially true. Most people don't realize the QUICK MENU is context-sensitive.

    Anyway, I'd expect to see it in SETUP, RECORD OPTIONS, since it's a global option, and not specific to that recording. All global options should be found under SETUP, IMO

    Same with PLAYLIST sort options. I know now they are on the "PLAYLIST version" of the QUICK MENU, but I always have to think twice about where to go. My first instinct would be to go to SETUP, PLAYLIST.

    Just my .02. /steve
  19. Oct 9, 2007 #79 of 302

    MikeR Hall Of Fame

    Oct 5, 2006
    A fine line between adding instruction, and making a "DVR for Dummies". I prefer less instruction and "hand holding" confirmation screens. Get me to where I want to go, so I can get back to watching my programs.

    I hope D* focuses on (also considered a TiVo UI positive)
    (a) improving/adding to the guide/program info
    (b) refining their version of the grid guide
    (c) improving the trick play functions - particularly slow motion and skip to tick.
    (d) Channels I get - greatly improving the search function
    (e) new remote development

    Dislike the TiVo suggestions, hacks and superfluous graphics.

    I prefer the slip for the reasons Drew2K mentioned.
  20. Oct 9, 2007 #80 of 302

    Strejcek Icon

    Sep 27, 2006
    While I too find neither interface super stellar, I'll point out what I personally like about each interface.

    As far as system setup settings, I would have to say the Tivo interface is better organized. For example, when you go into the video setup screen on the Tivo, you are offered all video settings as opposed to the DTV setup, where you have to go to two different places to make your video changes. So, IMHO, Tivo gets the "thumbs up" there.

    As far as the ability to better control and make system changes, I too would have to give the nod to Tivo. In order to make phone dial up changes on the HR20 you have to access a hidden menu, Tivo offers the option via standard menu options. Tivo's channel settings are also better organized. From their channel setup menu you are able to modify all your satellite and off air channels from one area, as opposed to DTV's UI which requires you to go into the Sat & Ant setup to access and change your OTA channels. Then DTV makes you go to your favorites to change them. Tivo offers the ability to make all those changes from one place. Tivo most certainaly gets the "thumbs up" for offering the ability to scan for off air in channels and CIR.

    As far as the Guide is concerned, I would give the nod to DTV's guide. Although it could use some work and polishing, it is quicker than Tivo's and scheduling recordings from the guide is much easier than Tivo, especially when creating a series link, hitting the record twice is much easier and QUICKER than Tivo's series pass options. DTV's UI also gets the nod as far as the play list, series link prioritizer, and speed. DTV's UI also gets the nod as far as PIG. I hate not seeing or hearing the TV when you go into menu screens with the TIVO.

    So IMHO, as far as menu settings and the ability to make system changes Tivo wins hands down. Their menus are better organized and make more sense than DTV's GUI.

    As far as guide speed, ease of setting up recordings and series links, play list access, and general organization of your recordings and to do list, DTV wins hands down.

    As far as feature sets, both have their strengths and weaknesses. After having and using the HR20 for over a year now, if I were given the option at this moment of choosing between the HR10 and HR20 I would choose the HR20. A year ago, the HR10 would have been my choice DVR. But given the changes and improvements DTV has made with the HR20, it is much easier to use but still has a long way to go.
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