Two months with a Virgin Media Tivo and why you shouldn’t buy one.

Two months on, and there’s still a lot of work needed before the Virgin Media Tivo is ready for a proper release. Unfortunately for the customers, that release took place a week ago.

Things that still need fixing:

  • Excessive seemingly random reboots. This is a massive problem which Virgin Media are totally incapable of fixing at the moment. For this reason alone you shouldn’t order a Tivo for the foreseeable future. What use is a PVR if it will lose recordings because of a reboot, or reboot whilst you are in the middle of watching something?
  • Forced upscaling of SD material, which means you can’t output everything at it’s native format. The Tivo itself is not particularly good at upscaling which makes this even more annoying.
  • No way of disabling PIN requests for post-watershed recordings. There are no children in my house, why should I be forced to enter a PIN before watching something recorded after 9pm?
  • An inconsistent mix of HD and SD menus.
  • You can’t set recordings via the web on an iPhone 3GS (amongst others), the website just tells you that you don’t have a Tivo (I do, I’m sat looking at it).
  • Setting multiple series links for the same program on different channels is a bit convoluted. It tells you that you already have a series link for that program, but not that it’s on a different channel, you have to explicitly add an additional series link.
  • You can’t FFWD through recordings from Radio properly.
  • Those bloody reboots.

Basically you should stay well away from the Tivo until they actually work properly. If I hadn’t already cancelled my Sky subscription I’d have sent mine back for a refund as its clearly unsuitable for it’s purpose at the moment.

Bye bye Virgin Media?

Well the Tivo is still rebooting, albeit not quite as often. However the lack of support from Virgin Media is somewhat disappointing. The last advice from the engineer was that I’d have to wait for the next software release due on Thursday. No explanation of what the problem is that will be fixed, and certainly no offer of the loan of a V+ box whilst the Tivo is untrustworthy, that also has to wait until after the next software release.

It’s not been a good week for Virgin Media, we had a major outage of a 60M data line at work last week, and it looks like there was an outage of our VM supplied internet connection over the weekend as well.

Virgin Media are useless

So far I’ve had:

  • No Wireless adaptor supplied as expected
  • No HDMI cable supplied for the Tivo, they pinched the one I’d bought to move the PS3 and used that.
  • No “half-price for six months” discount applied as promised. Therefore the first bill is looking to be 50% more than expected.
  • After complaining about the lack of discount a second contract was received which increased the price by £25 per month.
  • No port of my existing landline number at installation as I ordered. That had to be re-ordered and was completed a few weeks later.
  • A Tivo that hasn’t worked properly for nearly a week.

If it wasn’t for the hassle of migrating the phone and broadband back out to a BT line I’d have cancelled already. However the pain of going without broadband for a few weeks whilst I move somewhere more competent is looking more and more tempting.

More Tivo reboots

My Virgin Media Tivo box was replaced yesterday, however the replacement box is even worse. So far I’ve had three reboots, followed by two complete lockups, then five more reboots, all of which leave me pondering a move back to Sky and cancelling my entire Virgin Media contract in the process. I’ve not managed a completely successful recording since Saturday, most 1 hour programs involve at least two reboots, and that’s if it manages to record anything at all.

I rang the engineer who came yesterday who was very helpful despite having finished his shift, but the best they can do is another engineer on Thursday at some point. I’m not holding out much hope of a resolution any time soon.

Current recommendation: avoid like the plague.