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Wrong about TiVo



Wrong about TiVo

In response to the April 30 interview with Phillip Swann, "TiVo headed down the tubes?":

I watched the interview with Phillip Swann about personal video recorders, and there was some very misleading information conveyed in the interview.

First off, TiVo has a DirecTV receiver with TiVo service (Sony SAT-T60 and Philips DSR6000) that is identical in setup and features to Microsoft's UltimateTV, with the exception that Microsoft's box features WebTV. I quote from Swann:

"People want an all-in-one box...UltimateTV is a good example...You come through the satellite box with DirecTV, get hundreds of channels, you get TiVo PVR service, the ability to surf the Internet, so it is very convenient for consumers, and you can bring someone out to install it.

"The trouble with TiVo is that it is very difficult to hook up, and if you can figure out how to hook it up, it is not easy to learn as well."

This is totally inaccurate. The DirecTiVo box is very easy to set up, and although it lacks WebTV (which is not a feature, in my opinion), it has many more features than UltimateTV.

TiVo learns your preferences and will give suggestions for shows and movies you may like (and has been very accurate in our household). UltimateTV does not have that ability. UltimateTV is a DVR (digital video recorder), while TiVo is a PVR (personal video recorder). TiVo learns from you and will personalize your TV recordings, while UltimateTV only records what you tell it to.

TiVo also has more advanced searching and wish-list features that find actors, directors, keywords, etc., where UltimateTV's searching is not as advanced. Swann also stated that UltimateTV has TiVo PVR service. This is false. TiVo is a separate company and requires owners to subscribe to its service. UltimateTV has its own separate service that is no way affiliated with TiVo.

Swann was comparing the standalone TiVo to the UltimateTV box. This is an apples-to-oranges comparison. He never even mentioned that TiVo has an all-in-one box with DirecTV that only takes about 15 minutes to set up. He also fails to mention that people who either do not want, or cannot get, DirecTV cannot use the UltimateTV, whereas they can use the standalone TiVo.

I have three DirecTiVos in my household, and we are very happy with them. I would like to see the company succeed, since my wife and I can no longer imagine our TV viewing without TiVo. I welcome Microsoft into the PVR market and am happy for the competition with TiVo. I think it will benefit consumers like me, since it will cause TiVo to work harder to stay on top of the PVR market. I have compared the two and feel that the DirecTiVo has a better interface and better features than Microsoft's UltimateTV.

I do take offense to people such as Swann who spread FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about TiVo instead of giving the public an honest comparison of the pluses and minuses of each box. Clearly, Swann has either not done his research or has a hidden agenda. Interviews like this mislead the public. I am disappointed in CNET for not doing a more thorough story investigation before this interview.

Kevin O'Grady
Landing, N.J.