Wednesday, 15 September 2004

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

There are already excellent blogs that cover PVR (Personal Video Recorders). However, I want to chime in with my user experiences!

In December 2000 I bought a TiVo machine (manufactured by Thomson) and within a month sent it back! Not because the equipment was flawed, no, I lamented the lack of a built-in decoder and shelf space was at a premium. In early 2001 I interviewed for a TiVo guide editor post at sky. Prophetically, within a few months TiVo decided to withdraw from the UK market (continuing support for existing customers only). And sky focused on its own branded product that lacked TiVo’s signature feature - suggestions.

In 2003 I subscribed to sky+ as part of an upgrade package. However, following the ‘failure’ of two Pace V1 STBs (replaced with reconditioned kit) and ongoing technical issues including crashes, failed recordings and the inability to download recorded content to VCR/DVD – it appears that there may be sky+ software glitches that undermine its reliability - I decided to cancel my subscription. Question to sky: Do you seed software updates to testers during R&D?

As an avid Apple user, I’d welcome a digital lifestyle application that records directly to HDD/removable media along the lines of Elgato’s award-winning EyeTV. Coupled with QuickTime (H.264/AVC) and technology licensed from TiVo, the potential for another Mac OS X killer application is not that far fetched! Perhaps Apple will have the insight to add a TV tuner (included in my Performa 5200) in future revisions of the new iMac and claim the Media Center throne.