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neurological dryer lint

dirty deeds... and the dunderchief


do you remember rock & roll radio

tivo released their new desktop v2.3 this week, and weakly attempted to add mobile video functionality to the app. as an owner of both supported mobile devices (the ipod video and the psp) i found it a noble gesture, but ultimately it fails. here's why:

  • first, it costs $25 to even enable the feature. their ceo says it's to help pay for the licensing costs... i guess, but it's still too pricey for a simple add-on. divide that number by five and i might consider it. especially when i have to buy a separate license for every PC i run the software from. it should be tied to the device's media access key, IMHO.
  • you can't convert stuff you've already transferred over from your tivo to the mobile format. i use my PC as a backup for my tivo - as the DVR runs out of room i move stuff over to the PC and stream it from there if i want to watch it. so the ~30 shows sitting on my PC are gone off my tivo and I can't re-transfer them.
  • i can't convert-on-demand. i have to go into the preferences and turn on mobile conversion, and then transfer a show from the tivo. wrong, guys, i should be able to right click on a show from the list and convert on the fly.
  • i can't convert to both ipod and psp formats at once. true, i'm a gadget nerd and few probably own both devices, but give me the option instead of leaving it out. i don't get why software developers continually forget that more options = happier consumers.
  • the psp has a 480x272 widescreen. i should be able to render my tivo recordings at that resolution, but output from this app is max 320x240. which will look sad and grainy on my psp.
  • they still haven't fixed long transfer times. there's no reason at all that it should take an hour to copy a 1GB file from my tivo to my PC on my 100mbit LAN.
  • the transfers take a long time, so if my connection dies during a transfer or i lose power, the software should allow resuming of transfers. nope. restart it and walk away for another hour.

the featureset is tolerable for your average user, but i don't think those are the people downloading this application. consider it statistically - how many people own a Tivo and have a home network? out of those, how many bother to try to transfer shows off of the DVR to their PC? out of those, how many want to convert them for use on one of these two portable devices? the small group of users that fit into this category are likely schmoes like me that shake their head at sub-par functionality.

bottom line is, it feels like tivo rushes this type of thing out the door and risks distancing themselves from the only people who are still rooting for them. writers have been sounding their death knell for a while now. where's the series 3 box? are there enough compelling features to push me to upgrade to it, if it ever comes out? what are their engineers and developers doing in their spare time, then, since we haven't seen a new product in eons? do they really not have the available time to write a five star product instead of a weak little three star app that almost cuts it?

fortunately i run mostly windows still so i won't complain about the lack of full OSX support, although i have tried their version of tivo desktop for OSX and it won't even start up on my macbook.

remember, with two free applications (directshowdump and videora/pspvideo9) you can strip out the DRM and render the video at whatever size you want for your portable devices. don't shell out $25 for a DRM-crippled, slow, clunky, low-res solution.


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