Comcast Tivo at CES

Ars Technica has a write-up about the upcoming Tivo software for the Comcast DVR, announced so long ago I can barely remember it.

Anyone who has a Comcast Motorola 6412 DVR knows that the software running inside of it is a mess. That’s kind, there are other 4-letter words that are popping to my mind. It’s buggy, awkward, not-the-least user friendly and now…with more ads at the bottom so you get maybe 4 lines of programming to scroll at a time. I so miss the elegant Tivo interface.

According to a Ars Technica reporter who got a look at it at CES:

Aside from the Comcast branding and minor UI tweaks, it looks like the TiVo interface fans of the DVR are accustomed to, with a few extra features thrown in like metadata searches and support for Comcast’s On Demand programming. The remote control is the same; the sound effects are the same—it’s the TiVo experience fans of the DVR have come to appreciate. The Comcast TiVos also highlight HD content in the program guide and offer a “Get It In HD” option for WishList and Season Pass recordings. The TiVo software runs on the Motorola 3400 and Motorola 6400 DVRs, with the 3400 offering HDMI connections in addition to the usual composite, component, and coaxial connections.

And even better…

Current Comcast DVR owners will be able to upgrade their Motorola 3400 or 6400-series DVRs with a simple software download; no trips from the cable installer are required.

Now the bad news…

Those hoping for Series 2 or Series 3 functionality in a Comcast or Cox TiVo will be disappointed. There’s no KidZone, remote scheduling, or home networking with the Comcast TiVos.

I don’t care about the KidZone, but the remote scheduling and home networking part is a bummer. If I have my Internet service through Comcast and 2 DVRs, how much of a leap is it to give me access to them?

When is this happening?

The Comcast TiVos are currently undergoing engineering trials…with market trials expected to begin during the spring. Comcast will then begin rolling out the TiVo software once the trials are over some time later this year.

Yeah, right. And Comcast has been so good about sticking to their schedules up to this point. It’s a race…will Verizon FIOS get here before Comcast becomes worth its monthly bill? My money is not on Comcast. I called Verizon a few weeks ago and FIOS is currently within 5 miles of my home, just not in my development yet. Should be an option within the next few months, if not sooner.

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