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Virgin Media TiVo
Hi,

I am at a friends house who has a TiVo on trial.... it's an Alpha box
and many of these glitches and limitations may well be resolved with
software updates.

Overall impressions: not bad - but no match for a properly configured
MythTV; although MythTV certainly isnt easy enough to configure for
users... read on for more information

Rich


This is certainly not a full review and I have only had a few minutes
to play with it.


annoyances
Artifacts (especially in subtle tone areas) exist on SkyOneHD.

Media pixelates in fast moving/changing scenes (watching StarTrek on
SkySciFi) such as during the bar fight scene before Kirk is approached
to join the federation; Ghosting of images on panning shots; when
panning around a person with a building background the back of the
head/hair ghosts behind the head distorting the background. There are
even compression artefacts in tonal areas (such as on non-patterned
clothing). It certainly isnt even DVD quality and not well
de-interlaced. I guess that the broadcasters are reducing bandwidth on
SD offerings to make a HD seem relatively better (even though much of
the HD content is only 720i).

Not very good upscaling or de-interlacing of even SD content (BBC Two).

Picture in Guide/Menus doesnt always work; BBCTwo was fine, but
SkySciFy didnt work; seems to be a broadcast flag of some description
or a technical limitation to do with encryption.

Bringing up the guide which watching live tv always resets the guide
position to the top of the channel list rather than placing the cursor
on the programme being shown.

There are three tuners in the system; but only two are presently
enabled; a software update will likely come.
No sharing of recorded media to other rooms; possibly this will come
at some point
No support for portable media players.
No method apparent to add your own media - it isn't a one-box media server.

The remote control is awful; why are Tivo remotes well regarded? the
cursor keys are placed high-up with weighting of the remote low down.
Certainly not as good as a Sky+ remote; not very powerful IR the
slightest obstacle blocks the signal.



Good things...
Nice theme and interface;
audible feedback from button presses (a love it or hate it feature I
guess). these are played immediately and do not interrupt the media
sound, they play over the top of the media playing back; and it plays
immediately, before other actions may be indicated. Buttons that dont
do anything at that moment do play a sound. Quite a nice way to
indicate command received and acknowledged...

When browsing the guide; you can see what is available in alternative
media repositories; play a recorded edition of the show directly from
the guide, play Virgins own recording of the show (plays it on a VoD
channel).

On the media menu there are integrations to the BBC iPlayer /
ITVPlayer from within TiVo

As it is Tivo it Learns what you like and records it proactively.

TV Highlights; banner at the top which is accessible to select the
shows being promoted; upto four 4:3 panels showing promo stills are
shown, you can navigate upto this and scroll this list to see even
more. From here you can access and select to record the shows
directly. It explains the reason why it was suggested ("Best Bet this
week" or "Similar to other shows youve enjoyed"). I guess these could
be promoted based on TiVo viewing preferences or Broadcaster (Virgin
medias) choice. I cant tell with this short play with the system.

There is some lag in the UI; but it is quite acceptably quick.

1TB hard disc

From each piece of content, and each entry indicating content you can
"Explore this show"; links to biographies, cast information, upcoming
informaiton and other things directly from the guide; there seems to
be a lot of missing content at this point.It is nicely displayed for a
10' interface.

There are none of the advanced features of myth (as might expect), no
fast playback (there is a stuttery slow playback mode).

The UI isnt as intuitive as Sky+, but it certainly isn't so bad that
you wouldnt get used to it fairly quickly.
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Re: Virgin Media TiVo [ In reply to ]
Richard Morton wrote:
> Hi,
>
> I am at a friends house who has a TiVo on trial.... it's an Alpha box
> and many of these glitches and limitations may well be resolved with
> software updates.
>
> Overall impressions: not bad - but no match for a properly configured
> MythTV; although MythTV certainly isnt easy enough to configure for
> users... read on for more information
>
< clip excellent analysis of new Virgin box >
>
What you have described is about the same as I get from my standard
Virgin-branded Samsung set-top-box. It's good to know I'm going to get
repeatable quality when I finally decide to upgrade to HD...

--

Mike Perkins

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