Trouble for TiVo?

First, let me say there’s no device in my home that can hold a candle to my TiVo. I’m addicted. With it’s Season Pass, Swivel Search and video download service from Amazon and others, it’s still the best digital media recorder on the market and a great way to manage your video-watching lifestyle.

Suddenly, though, the HD TiVo is looking like a piece of junk to thousands of users, including myself.

Within the past week, it’s become almost impossible to watch recorded shows on my own HD TiVo. During playback, the unit freezes up and needs to be rebooted (taking more than three minutes of my valuable couch potato time at each go). More seriously, it’s not doing the job many people are paying for—being able to zip through their favorite shows in less than the time it takes to watch it live. It’s also suddenly become akin to that friend that you like to have around but can’t entirely trust to be there when you need it.

As a techie, I assumed what many others did: The issue might be caused by a failing or faulty hard drive. But when I did a little investigating online today to see if others were having the same problem, I was surprised to see there were more than 10,000 TiVo community threads since April from irate TiVo fans who have had the same problem. Anyone else out there suffering from this problem?

According to the latest threads, TiVo is aware of the issue, which many are blaming on the latest automatic software download to the unit, and is working on a fix. I put in a call to technical support and was told by an agent only to make sure the power source isn’t fluctuating and to use a surge protector (to which I already have my HD TiVo plugged). After a little pressing for other suggestions, he told me they haven’t found a fix beyond that yet.

They’d better hurry. The company relies on its loyal fan base to evangelize its products, which are competing against cheaper cable and satellite DVRS and other equipment. Some three or four months into the first of these problems being reported, money-losing TiVo is building plenty of bad karma among its most faithful users, who could fall out of love with what has been an amazing product.

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