TiVo

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1.1 out of 5, based on 7 ratings and
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TiVo - TV OUR Way
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- I have been a subscriber to TiVo's service since 2001, and I would have considered myself one of their greatest advocates . . . until recently. Now, I am fast becoming one of their greatest detractors.
I upgraded to the TiVo Premiere in July 2010. It worked fine . . . until TiVo deployed its updates. Although TiVo's Marketing Director suspects I received a defective unit, the machine worked perfectly for about 1-1 1/2 years before gradual deterioration set in, following a major software update.
I will be the first to admit that, when it works properly, TiVo is phenomenal. BUT, when it FAILS, one has no other recourse but to launch the machine from a catapult atop a tall skyscraper.
If your TiVo unit fails, and you have filled it with (hundreds of) hours of recorded programs, you will be faced with the following ultimatum: Cough up another $250-$400 to replace your machine and LOSE all your recorded programs; or, retain your recorded programs and learn to live with an expensive – and bulky – paperweight. Unless you plan to continue paying the monthly service fee for the second unit, once deactivated, your old unit will lose all its recordings. So, if you have accumulated a volume of recorded programs and, especially if you added the DVR Expander for additional recording capacity, you will be wishing you hadn’t if you ever have to replace your machine. Oh, and don’t even consider TiVo’s networking feature of transferring programs between machines – most programming, these days, is copyright-protected and, as such, these programs may NOT be transferred between TiVo DVRs, even if they reside within the same household.
Perhaps TiVo should change its slogan to: “TiVo – OUR WAY OR THE HIGHWAY!”
BEWARE, if you begin to experience the following:
*Freezes
*Random restarts
*Manual restarts EVERY DAY; sometimes, 2-3 times per day
*To view upcoming shows from the menu selection "Recording Options", plan to click several times to return to the necessary screen, as TiVo will ALWAYS automatically return you to the previous screen, as your cursor moves upward and before you have a chance to select "View Upcoming Shows"
*Expect to inadvertently click "Play From Beginning" EVERY TIME you want to change a "Keep Until" date, now that this redundant and utterly useless new "feature" pushes all other menu items down one line (Seriously, why do we need this feature, when we can simply hold down the "replay" button to return to the beginning?)
*Season Passes with lower priority levels, as supposedly prioritized by the user, will be selected by TiVo over higher priority programs, often removing the higher priority recordings from the "To Do" queue. This happens, even when the lower priority program is scheduled to be broadcast one week AFTER the higher priority program.
*Partial recordings, even when TiVo indicates there is plenty of space available.
*Randomly deleted recordings, when TiVo claims their expiration date arrived - often on the same date they were recorded and, sometimes, when they are set as "Keep Until I Delete"! - and there was still plenty of space available for it to be saved longer.
*Currently recording programs disappear if you delete a different program while the current program is recording. The "Recording History" will indicate either "an internal error" or, more likely, that "not enough space was available" - again, even though TiVo's system page indicates that there is plenty of space available (30-40 SD hours, which is the same TOTAL HOURS as the original TiVo!).
*Inability to set recordings, due to "not enough space available" (see above), even if only a single ½ hour sitcom is scheduled in the "To Do" queue.
*Inability to set recordings if you have something else in your "To Do" queue set to start recording within the next 12-hour period.
*Prepare to check, double-check and triple-check, on a frequent basis, your "To Do" queue, because TiVo will not honor your requests; instead, TiVo decides for itself what it will record. TiVo will randomly delete recordings set in your "To Do" queue, for no apparent reason. On occasion, I've had to manually reset a program to record as much as four times in a single day, because TiVo kept removing it from my queue.
*Regarding NetFlix - DON'T EVEN BOTHER! TiVo's NetFlix browser is WORTHLESS AND WEAK. I use either Roku or my LG Blu-ray player to stream movies, since TiVo's system requires buffering and reloading about every 5-10 minutes (that is, assuming you can get the movie to play in the first place) . . . what a way to watch a movie.
Recently, I recorded a movie at midnight. When I awoke the next morning, I looked for my recording in the "My Shows" list but, guess what? It wasn't there, so I reviewed my recording history and, sure enough, there it was listed as "Deleted"; according to TiVo, it was deleted because its time had expired and the space was required for another program. It provided an exact time for that other program, but NOTHING was recorded at that given time on my TiVo; in fact, NOTHING AT ALL was scheduled or recorded after the deleted midnight program, and my TiVo indicated that I still had 24 hours of space available for recordings (the deleted program was a mere 2 hours).
Ironically, TiVo now requires more micromanagement from me than the old TV/VCR combination ever did! Back then, I could set my VCR to record something, come home from work (or wake up in the morning) and . . . voila! . . . my recording would still be on the tape and would play back beautifully. Hmmmmm... technology is good; progress not so . . . .
Oh, and on another note, TiVo service in my area was down for several hours on two separate occasions. I contacted TiVo's so-called "customer service", only to have what I already knew confirmed. They assured me that my bill would be discounted for those lost hours, but did I see any such discount on either respective bill? In a word, NO! TiVo reps are NOT TO BE TRUSTED.
I've got a life, but TiVo just doesn't get it!
My biggest beef with TiVo (and other DVR services) is that, ten years ago, I paid $400 for a DirecTV/TiVo DVR and I OWNED the machine. I did not have to return it to TiVo, because it was COMPLETELY MY OWN PROPERTY. Now, one still has to fork over roughly the same amount, but the machines are leased ( i.e. NOT owned) by the consumer.
And this brings me to my next point: I still OWN my 1st and 2nd TiVo DVRs, on which I can continue to view my recorded programs, even if their recording capability is no longer available. It's similar to having a library of DVDs without taking up valuable shelf space. But, after deactivation, the recorded programs on the TiVo Premiere will be no longer accessible. People "buy" DVRs, obviously, to record hours of programming, so they can "watch television when they want to watch it". In what world does it make sense, then, to require people to return (or deactivate) their machine when they need to replace it with a new one, only to lose hundreds of hours of programming? So much for watching “TV your way”.
In a nutshell, TiVo lets you watch TV when it decides to let you watch TV.
In an analogous situation, should I be paying a monthly fee to Sony? After all, I still own and view my VHS tapes, loaded with programs recorded using my Sony VCR. (And, actually, many of the programs on my old VHS tapes look 10x better than the same programs recorded off digital cable/satellite – I’ve tried both – onto my TiVo DVRs).
I do have to give some credit to the Marketing Director for his response to a similar review I posted elsewhere and for his efforts but, on behalf of TiVo, he cannot offer an amenable solution to my situation. Suspecting my current TiVo unit to be defective, he sent me a replacement machine, on the basis that I would transfer the programs from my old machine to the replacement and, then, return the old unit to him. And he gave me two months overlap time, for both machines to remain activated, to do so before returning the old machine. This would have been no problem, if I could actually transfer my hundreds of hours of recorded programming between machines. All the programs on my current machine, however, appear to be copyright-protected, so they cannot be transferred from one machine to another, even if both machines reside in the same household ( i.e. on the same network). And, thanks to TiVo's heavy promotion of its large capacity hard drives (Record up to 300 HD hours with TiVo® Premiere XL4! - Now with 4 tuners, so you can record even more shows!), and the DVR Expander, I have accumulated over 1400 hours of SD programming on my DVR. If I were to keep the new machine, I would lose all that recorded programming! I, even, offered to pay the additional monthly service fee for the second machine, if I could keep both machines until I clear the old machine of its programming (by either viewing the shows or re-recording them on the new unit - though many of the shows are rarely re-broadcast and still many more will never be re-broadcast).
So, after just 2 years of service on my current TiVo DVR, it looks like I will have to fork over yet an additional $250.00 PLUS an additional monthly fee for TiVo service on a second machine, just so that I can record on a (hopefully) properly working DVR, while still retaining the hundreds of hours of programming that I have recorded on my current DVR.
On second thought, perhaps I will simply request a new generic DVR from Time Warner Cable (after all, the unit itself is essentially free, since I will only have to pay the monthly service fee, and I had initially returned their DVR when I received my TiVo Premiere) and FORGET TIVO ALTOGETHER!
IN CONCLUSION, BEWARE:
If you are anything like me, and you record a lot of programs on your DVR, you'd better hope and pray that your TiVo NEVER fails. Mine lasted only about 1 1/2 years before it began to deteriorate, thanks to bad software programming/deployment and/or a defective machine. Now, capitalism rears its ugly head as I must empty my wallet again for the sake of TiVo and my own sanity.
TiVo - and Capitalism - wins again!
     
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Suzy on 2012-10-17:
Give me the old VCR's anytime. Yes, they had their problems from time to time, eating tapes on occasions and they did take up shelf space, but for the most part reliable and inexpensive. No monthly service fees, you owned the machine outright and what you recorded you got to keep to watch on your own schedule. I know I'm old fashioned but I agree technology sometimes advances faster than progress can keep up with and we suffer with inferior designs and products that haven't got the bugs worked out properly yet. I still prefer my VCR to record shows to keep and no monthly fees or expensive complicated gadgets.
Minutemaus on 2012-10-17:
Suzy -

And don't forget that even a damaged VHS tape can be repaired with tape. It can, then, be dubbed to a new blank tape for archiving, so you can toss the damaged tape. A home-recorded DVD, on the other hand, once damaged or resulting in the dreaded "Disk Error", can NEVER be salvaged and becomes just another coaster. And you can't even access the recorded material to transfer it to a fresh DVD.

Oh, and when did you ever have to format a VHS tape for recording or finalize it so you can play it on a different machine? Not to mention how many times I've discovered my home-recorded DVDS to be incompatible with other machines, even after successfully finalizing the disks.

VHS JUST WORKED!
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Double Billing Me & No Refund
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA -- I bought a new TIVO and when I activated it I didn't realize I had to call and ask them to cancel service on my old TIVO. I recently realized they have been double billing me for 16 months and when I called to ask them to refund the money from the 2nd billing, they told me that was "against our policy at TIVO." The staff members I talked to (about 5 people total) were all rather arrogant and refused to help me at all because of their "policies."

The customer service at TIVO is evidently much worse than that at Comcast, a feat I didn't think was possible. I wonder how long this company will be around given the competition for the consumer dollar and MUCH BETTER customer service almost anywhere else.

I used to rave about TIVO. No more. Now I'm warning people against it. There are much better options, such as On Demand and other DVRs.
     
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Terrible Customer Service
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
Let me start off by saying I have been a loyal customer of TIVO since 2006 and have gone to battle many times with friends, co-workers and even strangers, making strong justifications that TIVO was worth the extra cost. Not anymore. The box I purchased back in 2010 has been acting up, so I called customer service to see if there was any cheaper options for longtime customers to purchase the Roamio than the big bucks listed on the website. I was told I could get a whopping $20 of the cheapest $199 option but that there were no other discount or upgrade options for the mid-grade or high-grade Roamio boxes. I spoke to the CS agent about cancelling my service and she seemed to think that was OK and didn't care either way. Is this really how TIVO thinks it's going to keep customers now that they have all this competition? I am sorely disappointed in my interaction with this company today... and will be cancelling my service.
     
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Tivo's Billing Practice
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY -- I purchased DVR F481 in December 2009. I upgraded to DVR 45C8 in November 2009 but failed to cancel the old service because it wasn't clearly apparent to me that upgrading to a new device would mean to cancel service on the old. I discarded DVR F481. Then in 2011, I upgraded again to DVR 7D92 and discarded DVR 45C8, again not realizing that I needed to cancel the old service.

So as of today, I have paid TIVO close to $1,330.56 in service fees of old devices that were discarded. Yes, you have a policy to call to cancel, I understand that now, however it is not a logical process nor did any of the written material stress this point. From a customer service perspective, TIVO should have offered me either to credit my account or reimburse me the service fees, but you have refused. I also found many other former customers complain about this practice. Some even called to cancel old devices but the cancellation didn't go through and they were subsequently charged for months of service. That says to me that TIVO is OK with making sure people keep paying them for service that they can't even use. Beware.
     
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Liars and Thieves
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
STRATFORD, CONNECTICUT -- We called to cancel service and they said we can continue service for $1.99 per month, so my wife said OK since we will be moving and might use our box again. A few days later, a charge for $200 shows up on our debit card. We called to get it reversed and they said yeah, sure, sorry about that. That was 2 months ago and they still have not refunded our money. We call every few days to complain and they tell us the payment is stuck at 'the bank'. For 2 months. They are obviously lying. They are thieves, nothing more.
     
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TiVo will not work well with antenna
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
TiVo is supposed to be a personal DVR to work with antenna as well as cable TV. We purchased it to work with antenna and have had trouble with it since we plugged it in initially. I called TiVo customer service immediately and was told it would download and get everything but it took a little while. The next day we still had channel guide with no listings saying "to be announced" . I have called at least 7-8 times to get this fixed and every time they say give me a week or 5-7 business days and it should be fixed. For 3 full months we have had channel listings in the guide with no shows listed.. Not one or two but 8 channels.

So when you want to set up something to record it will not find the shows you are wanting from CBS/ or ABC because the machine has no idea what is coming on those channels. It is so ridiculous that in the computer age a company can not get a channel listing for three months strait..

To top it all off we got so frustrated we were just ready to cancel and they said we would owe for the remainder of the year. Even though the service has not worked and has been incorrect the entire time!

This is a rip off!!! Do not ever ever purchase a TiVo to use for your antennae.
     
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Cancellation policy is a rip-off
Posted by on
Rating: 2/51
ALVISO, CALIFORNIA -- First off let me say that I really liked my Tivo service and I didn't have many complaints other than just normal hiccups from time to time, but overall very satisfied.

However my roommate who actually owned the box just moved out and so I wanted to cancel the service. Should be a snap, right? Nope. Can't do it online, you must call them to cancel. And wouldn't you know, you can only cancel between 8 and 5. (Not exactly 8-5, but close to normal business hours) I had the feeling that they were just trying to make it difficult to cancel thinking that if I was trying to do this a day or two before my bill was due they'd push me over into the new month before I got around to it. Just [snip]ed me off.

Now maybe it's just a way to save money and only have one or two shifts of operators, but I have no idea why I can't cancel online. I think I'm probably annoyed/angry enough that while I was considering getting my own Tivo box and a new subscription there is no way in hell I will now.
     
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Poor customer service
Posted by on
I've been a loyal member for 4 years and when I moved I decided to go with another service provider. I called TiVo to cancel my service and after stating that I just wanted to cancel my service and not go through the "oh please stay with us" song and dance the service representative became frustrated with me and put me on hold to complete the transaction. Finally after waiting some time she came back with an order # and was clearly angry with our previous interaction. Does anyone know if the service reps are accountable in some kind of way for accounts that are canceled...for example they lose a portion of their pay if they can't talk a customer into staying? Anyway, I thanked her and again she was very unhappy. As far as I know my service has been cancelled...

Bottom line-this was a very simple request that was handled poorly by customer service
     
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SteveWiginowski on 2011-05-16:
It would have been nice if they were more friendly, but it's difficult to call this poor customer service when you are calling to not be a customer. The service that you requested was given to you (canceling the service), so while she may not have sounded happy about not being able to do her job in full, she performed the service that you requested in full.
tnchuck100 on 2011-05-16:
You need to send a certified mail/return receipt requested letter stating your cancellation and effective date. Phone cancellations are often ignored and the bills keep coming. Then it is your word against theirs. Since they are the "big boys" they will always win.

Get it in writing. Cover your butt. Particularly since you sense their displeasure.
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TiVo Steals... TiVo sucks
Posted by on
A fair warning about TiVo and why TiVo sucks.
Short version: I paid for a lifetime subscription. TiVo cancelled my account, claimed I called and cancelled, and claimed they credited my account. I never called and cancelled my account and they never issued a credit to my credit card. Now I have a useless TiVo machine with no service and I'm out over $300.
Details: I used to always brag about TiVo and have purchased 6 TiVo machines. I have been a TiVo customer for years and currently have three TiVo boxes "running." I have to put quotes around running since TiVo took it upon themselves to turn off one of them, which I paid a lifetime subscription for. I received and email warning and I emailed back to TiVo and even attached screenshot showing I had a lifetime subscription and never received any response. The proceeded to shut off my box. I then had the pleasure of calling TiVo. Should you ever call them, be prepared to be on hold forever. After giving up on two previous occasions, I finally planned my day around it and was able to get through after about 20 minutes of being on hold. The customer service representative was less than helpful. He claimed I called and cancelled my account, which I had not. I explained I had a lifetime subscription and he insisted I cancelled my account and claimed my credit card was credited. My credit card was never credited and I explained that. He then claimed their records showed they issued me a credit and he blamed my credit card company and said I had to take it up with them.
I called my credit card company and they confirmed I never received a credit from TiVo.
I got online with TiVo, which still took about 30 minutes to get a representative. The guy looked at my account and agreed something did not look correct; however, he would have to send it to a supervisor to look at. Even though he did absolutely nothing to rectify the problem, except pass it along, he seemed helpful. He told me someone would call me and I asked if they would leave a message with a number I could call back without being on hold forever, since I don't answer calls I don't recognize, since they're oftentimes sales calls. He said they would leave a number that was a direct line. Did they ever call and so much as leave a message? No.
Bottom line: TiVo can take your money, claim you cancelled, claim they refunded your money, and leave you with a useless TiVo box and out hundreds of dollars. But they'll make sure they wait a few months, so you don't even have recourse with your credit card company. TiVo SUCKS.
     
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bcd on 2010-05-06:
Request a copy of the credit receipt containing the transaction ID number. A merchant must honor that request. If they provide you with a transaction ID number, then you can verify the credit with your credit card issuer. If they fail to provide the transaction ID number, then you have caught them in a lie.
Rob on 2011-05-25:
Tivo does steal in my opinion. I cancelled my account 2 years ago on the phone with a service rep of theirs, and just found out they've been billing me monthly since then. (it was a credit card that I hardly use, so didn't notice. Bill is set to auto-pay.) "We can give you a 90-day credit."

Stay away from TIVO.
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Customer Disservice
Posted by on
Before entering into a relationship with TV (tee-voh), carefully consider the difficulty you will most certainly encounter when it inevitably comes time to "break up" with TiVo.

After 2 and 1/2 years of being generally satisfied with the service, we realized that our casual and rare use of the service no longer warranted spending the monthly fee to keep it.

After calling to cancel the service the day my account was billed for the NEXT month's service, I had to go round and round with their customer "service" department to cancel the account and get refunded the charge. The charge was indeed refunded in the customer un-friendly time frame of 10-14 days as promised, but unbeknown to me, the customer "service" representative neglected to actually cancel the account.

So the next month upon noticing an additional monthly charge from TV on my charge account, I contacted the customer "service" department to demand an immediate refund and an explanation for the *unauthorized* access to my card. After 45 minutes on the phone with 3 customer "service" reps including a floor supervisor, I have a cancellation effective NEXT month and a credit coming back to me within the next 10-14 business days.

It's interesting to me how they can easily process an incorrect - and unauthorized - charge on a Saturday afternoon, but they are unable to apply the corrective refund "because it is a Sunday".

This is a prime example of what I consider a customer disservice provided by an customer "service" department whose sole purpose is to provide a buffer between the customer and the people who create the policies and procedures that generate the dissatisfaction that I and many other TV EX-customers have experienced.

Instead of being a highly dissatisfied TV ex-customer, I wish I had known this so that I could have saved myself the aggravation and not been a TV customer at all.
     
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madconsumer on 2009-09-06:
great review.

very helpful.
Anonymous on 2009-09-06:
Once you get every dime back from TiVo, be sure to save all your final statements or whatnot that show you are done, just in case they try to mess around some more. Do you you have a TiVo box of some sort that will have to be returned? Be careful that hanging on to that, or even trying to check to see if the service is really off, doesn't give them "permission" to start it all up again.
Eloise on 2009-09-06:
Mundo's right we just got a collections call for a cell phone bill (the account has been closed for 3 months). Make sure you have every 'I' dotted and every 't' crossed, so they can't do this again. Hope you will come back and update us.
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