Dear TiVo, We Had Some Good Times But I Need to Move On

In November 2006, we purchased a high definition Panasonic 42″ plasma television for our family room. Our crappy 22 inch TV was developing dark spots and fading. Courtney wanted a panel television due to the odd layout of our family room. I am far from a videophile or audiophile – hell, I can not even tell you if the system is 720 progressive, 720 interlace, 1020, whatever. For me, I just want a decent picture and TiVo.

We were on of the early adopters of TiVo, having purchased our Series 1 Standalone unit in March 1999. (For reference on the time, I also picked up our first DVD player and the recently released copy of an Oscar-forgotten story detailing a young man overcoming his mental capacity obstacles.) I remember the day I brought the TiVo home. Courtney asked me point blank “Are you insane? This is the dumbest contraption I have ever heard of.” These are words she would live to regret years later watching the promiscuous life details of doctors (here, here, here). We later upgraded to a DirecTiVo and chose DirecTV solely on the TiVo feature. To put it simply, we love our TiVo.

Yet, it was the plasma television purchase led us into the slow slide of ending our 9+ year love affair with TiVo. When the television was first hooked up, the standard definition channels look pixelated but livable. It was better than the black spots and the TV just looked damn sexy. Last week is when everything changed.

On Friday, we began to hear the dreaded hard drive clicking sound. Every geek in the world knows this is not a healthy sign. Furthermore, the click was accompanied with random pauses of 2 to 40 seconds. The pauses were occurring every few seconds. It would take 2 hours to watch a 1 hour show. When I called DirecTV to replace the unit under my protection plan, I was nicely informed that they would be happy to send out a DirecTV-brand DVR. I told them I did not want this. I wanted a TiVo, my old buddy and companion for the past 9 years. The agent’s unauthorized recommendation – eBay. I was pissed as why I have a protection plan where the replacement is inferior. A bald-headed, wack job would call these stages “Shock, denial, and anger”.

Finally, I succumbed to the reality (resolution stage). If I had to get a DirecTV-brand DVR, it was time to upgrade to HD. The technician was out yesterday to perform the installation which was pretty painless despite the obtrusive satellite receiver. The damn thing looks like it could radiate a bald eagle from a hundred yards. I do have to admit that the picture is beautiful. The TV is now displaying image quality for which it was designed. The DVR is clanky and leaves a stark testament to the TiVo UI designers who built a better interface over a decade ago.

The only downside is that some people are not meant to be seen in high def.

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