TiVo owners in Australia - all 27 of us - are grieving at the approaching turn-off date for the TiVo EPG. After that our TiVos will become boat anchors... or at best a possible way of electrocuting fish for easy capture.
There doesn't seem to be anything available that is quite as delightful as the TiVo has been. I've been giving a lot of thought to exactly what it is that TiVo does that other PVRs don't do or don't do nearly as well. Here are some of my thoughts.
1) All tuners are buffering all the time. That means that when you switch on the TV you had 30 minutes of time-shift data already there. You lose that if you change the channel of course, but if you're late getting home or switch on and have missed the beginning of your programme you had a pretty good chance of being able to skip back to the start.
2) Tuner cycling. You could swap through the tuners without changing channels, thus preserving your time-shift data.
3) Instant record. If you're watching live TV and you decide "this is good" or "Beatrix would enjoy this" you can press the record button. TiVo captures time-shift data into the recording back to the start of the programme, or back 30 minutes if you're more than 30 minutes into it.
4) WIsh-lists where you can enter keywords, actors, and categories and TiVo will record every programme that matches the criteria. For example if I'm interested in the Battle of Hastings I can set up a wish list to capture every documentary programme that contains the word Battle and the word Hastings in the title.
These first four features have been just awesome and completely changed the way we watch TV in our family. We hardly watch anything live anymore. Typically when we find something on that we want to watch, we'll hit record and watch an earlier recording while the new one records. Perhaps we'll start watching before the programme has finished recording so it's like a long time-shift buffer.
So now I'm looking at Myth to see what it offers and what it doesn't. It's rather fun so far but getting set up so I can start exploring the features is proving to be challenging. Getting there though... I finally have a working test installation on my laptop.
5) Suggestions are an occasional joyful surprise. You can thumb-up (or thumb-down) programs that you like (or not). TiVo collects these preferences and tries to compile a set of keywords and categories that might be of interest and will record them for you in a suggestions list. It also adds data on which programmes you watch live, or record and watch later, and adds these to the learning data. Occasionally suggestions comes up with a pearl! But it's so rare that I don't think I'll miss this feature so much.
Then there's the things that everybody has like programme guides, season passes (series recording), time-shift viewing and so on.
I think I'll have questions about features along the way. Hopefully I won't be too annoying.