The Downsides To TiVo?

from the not-all-so-wonderful dept

Almost everyone you talk to who owns a TiVo (or similar device) talks about how it revolutionized how they watch TV. They talk about how they watch what they want, when they want – and say it makes television watchable again. However, some are also realizing there’s a downside to such things. Being able to store stuff up, means that you can create a backlog. Some, who haven’t figured out how to manage their TiVo experience find themselves feeling chained to their TV to “catch up” on all the shows they missed. In the past, if you missed a TV show, you asked friends for a summary of what happened, or you just get on with your life and figure you’ll catch up the following week. Now, though, as people realize the power of TiVo, they never miss a show. On top of that, because of the simplicity of the whole thing, they end up regularly watching a lot more TV shows than they watched in the past, so the inevitable backlog appears. Some even report feeling stressed out in having to keep up with their TiVo. It’s not at all surprising that some folks feel this way. It’s the sort of adjustment period that happens with plenty of new technologies. Over time, though, people learn to manage such things – though, I’m sure we’ll hear about psychologists who specialize in treating “TiVo addicts” before too long.

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Comments on “The Downsides To TiVo?”

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Father Dan (user link) says:

Tivo Newbies?

First off, I watch 24 in 3 hour segments. Love the ability to skip through the commercials and watch 3 hours in 2.15. . . anyway

With new Tivo owners, I totally agree that you end up watching MORE TV. Its just a common reaction to go through all of the shows and say Record, record, record, season pass, season pass, etc. But I also think most people realize this after a few months and remove season passes. Where the payoff starts to come is when you have 3 or 4 regular shows you watch – good shows like 60 minutes, Nova and 24. I never knew about CRAP like Queer eye, American Idol etc becasue I never saw the commercials for them.
My regular schedule now is – come home, turn on the TV and hit LIST. SELECT-DELETE anything that I didnt record and doesnt look interesting (sometimes Im glad Tivo caught something extra.) Then I have the Screen Savers on in the background while I cook dinner, read email etc – skipping commercials. Then I might watch something I told TIvo to record a day or two ago.

If you don’t know whats on TV – you dont miss it. I used to like that 70’s show. New season sucked so away goes the season pass and Ill never miss it.

Live TV? – Oh, thats the stuff with the 4th grade mentality commercials for prime time shows with laugh tracks that suck monkey a$$.

Tivo Saves One’s Sanity.

aNonMooseCowherd says:

television addiction

I’m sure we’ll hear about psychologists who specialize in treating “TiVo addicts” before too long.

Have you checked the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)? If may already be listed. On ther other hand, I expect the advertising business to try to get a law passed requiring everyone to watch three hours of television every day (or at least the commercials contained in those three hours). These two groups may end up fighting each other.

Jeff says:

I sort of understand

I got my TiVo last April. I set up a Season Pass for several shows only to find I never got around to watching them. Eventually I realized that I would never watch them so I just deleted them.

My 2 biggest gripes about TiVo are that I want a second unit, but I don’t want to pay for the fees on the second unit and its next to impossible to save what I’ve recorded to my computer. Sure I can hook up my video camera and download it that way but its a major pain. Makes me wish I had a Series 1.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Is there really anything on TV that needs recording ? Can’t think of a single show I’ve ‘made time for’ in a loonnnnnnggggg time.

Can’t imagine spending the money on the device/service (ok, it’s the service you’re buying) … especially considering that most show’s these days are being released on DVD almost as soon as the season / show is over.

Someone Pipe up and tell me what they are recording so I’ll get an idea of whether this device really merits consideration. Very possible I’m missing something here …

Lord Sludge says:

Re: No Subject Given

There actually is a lot of Good Stuff on tv, even just basic cable; you just need someone or something to sift through the crap for ya, which is where TiVo steps in. Of course, “good” is subjective, but I record/watch lots of road racing, rally, The Simpson’s, South Park, 24, Junkyard Wars, etc.
It’s true that you’ll generally watch more tv w/ a TiVo. However, you’ll be watching *what* you want (not just whatever drivel happens to be on), when you want (no more staying home Thursday evenings to watch ER).

SINNER says:

Re: No Subject Given

This is the exact issue with Tivo. Its impossible to understand what your missing until you have one. This one particular issue is what is keeping tivo from making a big splash. I dont think anyone here will be able to tell you anything you cant see for yourself on the site but as I said, youll never know the value until you have one. If you have DirecTv you can get a unti for $100 and if you already subscribe to the everything package thee is no monthly tivo fee.

Precision Blogger (user link) says:

No need to be chained to TiVo

We have a TiVo, and we follow these two simple rules:

(1) Stick with a small hard drive. We have 40MB. Not too much backlog there!
(2) Don’t worry if shows get deleted before you see them. It’s only Television!

TiVo is for people who hae lives. They get to watch anything they want in the small bits of their time that they have no better use for.

– The Precision Blogger

George Miller says:


I just found out and I thought you should know about the so called lifetime subscription. I was told by a TIVO service rep that the so called lifetime subscription is tied to the box. So if your box goes bad too bad you lose the rest of your so called lifetime subscription. If you want to buy a new TIVO box forget it you cannot transfer your so called lifetime subscription. TIVO SUCKS BIG TIME. Please feel free to pass this information out.

Saft says:


Yes lifetime is tied to the box. Which makes customers feel less of a part of the Tivo community when they realize that they are just a box owner.

Seriously Tivo can only record Ananlog signals. You need a Landline in order to activate the box and update it’s firmware. They allow Wifi with the series 2, but it’s not built in, and only a select few usb wifi adapters work with the box and guess what… they are the more expensive ones.

Couple this with the fact that if you don’t pay for their service it renders your DVR completely useless, and you have a crappy product.

I understand Tivo needs to make money and all, but why not offer the box for a bit more unless you get the service, much like cell phone companies do.

Untill these things can grab a digital signal, I am sticking with my $300 computer that can do exactly what Tivo does minus the monthly fees.

Ann says:


I made the mistake of trying it. 30 day risk free. ha (see later). the thing hums. the channel guide’ is incredibly slow. it says it won’t record repeats, but it does (i guess it’s not smart enough to look at the original air date, but looks at some tv guide type flag that’s note always there?), the remote can change my tv volume but not it’s channels, the picture quality is also not something i’d want to watch regularly. guess those that love it don’t care about clear pictures. Tried to return it today. Was on the phone for an hour – not exagerating. They apparently had never heard of the ‘risk free 30 day guarantee’. now isn’t that something. even as i read them what their own website said, they were denying it. yup, they are evil. hadn’t run into customer service that rude in years. Stay away.

Dman says:



ThIeVO took our money for a lifetime subscriptions that are now useless because they do not offer an upgrade options for dead or obsolete DVR units. I believe this was their greedy plan from the onset. They could make hundreds more from each lifetime member every few years if they would upgrade the box. However TIVO management does not understand how to make money and grow a business so say see ya to ThIeVO today because they are history tomorrow! They actual believe that the reason why they cannot accommodate customers and execute this profitable business practice is because the software they use does not have an option to transfer lifetime subscriptions, or maybe this is just the poor excuse made up by the folks who work customer service to save face. TIVO change or be changed. I have changed and no longer use ThIeVO.

Jay says:

Tivo Sucks!

I was a total Tivo convert…in the beginning. Even after my initial machine died within months, I was a believer. Tivo really was a great tool. But I’ve found when it doesn’t work, it really lets you down. The issue is trust. You have to trust that it works. And I have lost that. I trusted that the two final episodes of 24 were safely stored on my machine. But my machine had died. Sorry says Tivo, but I’ll sell you another one! I have to wonder, as a lifetime subscriber, if my machine died or was murdered. Afterall, Tivo wasn’t making any more money off me by the time my machine bit the dust. So why not sell me another. And, although I waffled, I eventually went ahead and bought a new machine, sent the corpse back at my own expense and thought I might find new love. Not so fast. After setting up the third machine, it froze my tv completely and didn’t record. Spent time with tech support and thought the problem was fixed. Set up a season pass or two and then poof! Same glitch. Number three machine is a lemon. And customer service could use some help in defining customer and service…make me happy, restore my faith — because I am no longer a blind ambassador. This is Tivo’s last chance!

Jetcast (user link) says:

Tivo Vs. Jetcast

would like to introduce you to . We would like to work with you to add your “Live” or “Pre-Recorded Loop” Channel(s) that could be posted on all of your website’s and within our Jetcast guide 24/7 to help build awareness and demand for your programming. You will not pay for the traditional bandwidth to have this service whether one person watches or one million people watch. This will allow both your users and our users to Watch and promote your service at little to No Cost to You.

If you go to you will see that our site is a free service for content owners like yourself. We provide all the solutions and infrastructure for content owners to broadcast without the bandwidth costs. There are no catches. You can read the details on the site or feel free to contact us.


We are proud to announce the launch of our alpha Jetcast service where broadcasters can use our new secure and efficient Jet:// protocol instead of the current mms:// or http:// protocols which will save over the traditional costs of per megabit transfer streaming rates. This will allow internet broadcasters who have struggled to be profitable because of these huge streaming costs now have a new technology that will allow you to monetize content.

Marketing & Traffic

You can create as many channels as you wish and embed those channels on any site you choose and allow others to embed your channels without incurring any additional streaming costs; this will allow you to take advantage of the internets viral marketing for popular content, which will increase your viewers and revenue for your channels without increasing your streaming costs.


Add a webcam’s feature and let viewers connect with behind the scenes programming on selected days or times at no additional costs.

Live Event Promotions

Film Live events and either create a channel on the fly or pre record it and post a recorded loop for your potential customers to view later.

Kind Regards

dorothy says:

tivo machines suck

Tivo #1 died after 17 months
Tivo #2 (refurbished) is now freezing after 9 months
Tivo #3 after 17 months is showing signs of being on it’s way out

I just want two functioning machines for at least 2 years, is that too much to ask?

$600 in less than 2 years and I’m supposed to put more money into these machines ?? Love the TIVO service but hate the machines.

Anyone else having these problems with quality of the TIVO machine?

hammerwords says:

Tivo ruins American Idol

Seems like a good idea, this Tivo thing. Saved us about 20 hours watching American Idol, and then, blam, on the last night of the last show, AI runs five minutes too long. We had set Tivo to extend 2 minutes beyond the end of every show, but Tivo is too damn stupid to know that the biggest show in America is running long, so we missed the season ending moment. Geez.

Pissed off (user link) says:

Poor customer service

My girlfriend ordered a DT box for my birthday. I called twice after the 1st and 2nd week that the product was not shipped even though they promptly charged her credit card. 2 CS reps told me that “UPS doesn’t always scan every package”. Total BS lie. Then I got 2 stories about the box was on/off backorder. 2 weeks prior to Thanksgiving, you’d think they’d have enough in stock right? They were nice enough to send a confirmation email that the box was shipped but apparantly all they did was send the billing information to UPS. When I asked to be compensated for ruining my birthday surprise, they offered nothing in return. I promptly had the order cancelled. If they can’t own up to their own shipping error, what other problems will they not own up to down the road?

Fcuk Tivo and their crappy customer service.

Frogger says:

TiVo is SWEET!

I understand you all have had bad experiences….but that doesn’t mean TiVo SUCKS. The Idea is great..its networking functionality is INCREDIBLE..i was on vacation, and i saw a commercial that a new season of a show i realy wanted to see was starting…so i got online to MMA “Manage my Account’ went to ‘Online Scheduling’…sent a message over to my tivo to record the show, when i got home it was waiting for me!! Oh..i cant leave out when i was on the plane heading to my vacation destination…i was able to watch my shows on my about a nice plane ride.
Whats realy special…my family lives out of state so we do not see them very often and TiVo helps us share family memories…we can share our home videos back and forth from our tivos with One True Media…we can rent movies from amazon right from the couch…listen to our music from the PC on our home stereo system..look at our photos on the TV instead of our monitor….the possibilities are ENDLESS!!!!! Give TiVo another chance guys..c’mon!!

A Ben says:

Tivo is a disgrace

Awful customer service, bordering on criminal. I bought a used Tivo and tried to get service for it, but couldn’t because the prior contract wasn’t completed. So instead of ending the prior contract so I could start a new contract in my name, Tivo transferred the prior owner’s contract into my name, without my permission, and made me responsible for the remainder of the contract.

I only found this out when going back into my account to make sure that they had billed me the correct amount. My “recourse” was to cancel “my” contract early and pay a termination fee. Nice option for their error. Just to insult the prior owner, Tivo also exposed all the prior account details in my online account. Glad to see the don’t care at all about safeguarding personal information.

So I will never do business with Tivo. They have proven to me that they are not trustworthy at all.

user583232 (profile) says:

TiVo steals... TiVo sucks

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.

I hate Fucking Tivo! says:

I hate Fucking Tivo!

I hate Fucking Tivo! Bunch of Lying Scumbags. Now all these Ad Pop-Ups! Fuck this Tivo Scam! Paying $1000+ to be fucked with, no thank you. People who work there clearly hate their jobs, because Tivo shit never works and people are angry. I know I will never have Tivo again, just like Geico or Progressive Insurance.

mickrussom (profile) says:

tivo series 6 and te3 is the end

i’ve enjoyed tivo since series1. ive upgraded them with ethernet and wifi before those were built in. ive enjoyed it up until early 2020 – no more cable card, no more cable, i stream now to roku and still run pytivo (upgraded to python3 by itsayellow). i am done with tivo due to te4 (tivo experience four / hydra). tivo ruined the user interface with te4/hydra. ive owned series1, series2, series3, series3 thx, roamio and bolt+vox.

so now i have a bolt+vox and when that dies that will be the end of tivo. it was an impressive run up to about 2017. after that time tivo has become a burned out shell husk empty company with nothing to offer and it has been sold to nasty people.

ive never seen a company burn so much good will as tivo. sad.

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