Become A TiVo Premiere Early Adopter At Your Own Peril

Victor wants to warn Consumerist readers: no matter how much you love your TiVo, do not jump in and let yourself be an early adopter of the company’s new product, the Premiere (or series 4) box. He and other Premiere users have shared their tales of heartbreak and bugs with the Internet.

I’ve been a huge fan of TiVo, going all the way back to the Series 1 launch in 1999 when Prince was partying and no one understood the concept of a DVR-thingie. So when TiVo released the Series 4 (aka Premiere) earlier this month, I dutifully upgraded three of our four TiVos on the spot. Big mistake. The series 4 is, without a doubt, the buggiest, not-ready-for-primetime experience in the company’s history. The new high-def user interface is a sluggish, lockup-prone mess. Lockups are not something you want from your DVR appliance. It’s always a treat to find out your favorite show won’t be taped in its entirety because you had the nerve to navigate menus or see what else was on the box while it was recording, leading to a random lockup. There’s a TON of complaints about this in the TiVo community forums (www.tivocommunity.com). The solution seems to be just to turn the HD interface off and use the Series 4 with the SD menus only. Unfortunately that doesn’t guarantee a bug-free experience as the SD user interface still has lockups as well. TiVo pushed out an update last night, but in 12 hours of testing, the interface is still buggy and lockup-prone. This box should NOT have been released in this condition. It’s obvious that TiVo needed at LEAST 6 more months to give this the polish TiVo was formerly known for. In my experience with TiVo series 1-3 I’ve never had a box so unstable. Caveat Emptor.