Written on: 13/06/2007 by diablo944 (16 reviews written)
Excellent video recording device, intuitive and simple controls, good remote control (simple yet efficient), good following of technical users who are able to keep TiVo up and running in the UK, along with numerous upgrades to improve the unit. Highly capable and in many ways better than the (vastly younger) Sky+ boxes. Subscription and support still available despite it no longer being manufactured. Build quality is excellent. Able to control and record from external sources such as Freeview.
Largely forgotten about in the UK since manufacture was stopped, but still available and still a good PVR. No Freeview/digital tuner as standard (though it is able to control and record from an external Freeview box). Limited drive space on a standard unmodified machine. Occasional sluggish controls (again on an unmodified machine), though a series 2 remote works with a series one box and improves the speed dramatically. No longer manufactured in the UK, or sold in the mainstream shops, so second hand or refurb is only way to go. 10 pound pcm or 200 pounds lifetime (of the machine) for channel information subscription (required as Tivo is useless without it). No built in DVD to record items for friends. Only one (analogue) tuner. Very badly advertised in the UK.
Some feel that the size is a bad point, being around the size of an older video recorder, but it is ideal for those wanting to stack a DVD player, Xbox, Playstation, Freeview box or just about anything else on it. Despite the recorders somewhat lowly recording quality on a standard machine, the display, even on a large screen LCD is still good enough for most people. The intuitive controls and TiVo's easy setup make it a fantastic personal video recorder. Long before SKY+, TiVo was recording a full series of any particular program with a minimum of input from the user. Automatically avoids clashes in schedules, records items based on actual programme name choices, actor, genre, type of programmes, learns viewing habits and records programmes you may have forgotten about. Many users, once they have a TiVo can't look at TV without it. It was the first mainstream box to allow you to pause live TV, watch one recording while recording another, things taken for granted now, but in some ways, the EPG and controls especially noteworthy, nothing else has ever come close to TiVo. The lack of a digital tuner would put people off it now, but as it can control a Freeview box, this is not really a detrimental item. Many TiVos now in the marketplace have been heavily modified, and items with larger drives are a highly recommended thing. An original machine having only 12 hours recording at high quality (40 hours basic quality, and in this day and age, not acceptable), add to this the fact the series one machine has not been manufactured for over 4 years and the drive may have seen a lot of its life used up. Larger (and newer) drives fitted to modified machines see recording time upped to the 300 hours plus at maximum quality. There are further modifications to increase menu speeds and allow other changes to the hardware and software, even allowing a higher recording quality, but these are perhaps best left to the individual to research. The main point here is that TiVo still has a strong following in the UK, support is still available, as is the subscription service (ironically, I am told it is Sky that actually now carry the TiVo name in the UK). TiVo is still big in the US, and their TiVo units have progressed into smaller boxes, more features, DVD recording abilities and more, while in the UK only the series one was ever an option. NTSC boxes and any of their upgraded designs are no use in the UK as they will not work. On a plus point, the series one Tivo was a substantially built unit. Suffers from few (if any) of the more annoying traits of it's US cousins, and is largely the same as it ever was. If you can find one and overlook it's lack of DVD drive, and native Freeview, it is still one of the best, if not the best personal recorders released to date.