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Tele-Vision

Posted on Friday, December 20th, 2013

Dave!There have been rumors for years that Apple is developing a "smart television."

I wish they would hurry the hell up about it, because none of the stuff released by Google, Microsoft, or any other companies I've seen have been worth a crap.

And I am so sick and fucking tired of this Charter TV pile of shit DVR that Im stuck with. They had been promising a TiVo box was coming... since January 2011... and yet a couple of months ago they pulled their TiVo test market in Texas and discontinued their TiVo Premiere service. Lying assholes. Sure you can still buy a TiVo directly and shoehorn it into their system, but it's hardly going to be the seamless experience Charter originally promised.

And since TiVo is the ONLY company to have gotten the DVR right, I'm pretty much screwed.

First of all, the Piece of Shit Charter DVR has one of the stupidest fucking user interfaces of any consumer electronic devices in the history of consumer electronic devices. It's ridiculously... almost comically... difficult to navigate their system. And given the eleventy-billion stupid-ass buttons on the Charter DVR remote, it's unnecessarily complex as well. And then there's the ads... fucking advertisements on every damn menu screen! I'm paying for my cable package each month, yet shows still have ads. I'm paying a rental fee for my DVR each month, and it has to have ads too? Assholes! I can't for the life of my understand why a company would want to buy ad space on somebody's DVR... all they do is irritate people and associate their product or service with something people hate.

But the worst thing about the Piece of Shit Charter DVR is that it does a piss-poor job of presenting your television shows. Watching a letterboxed version of a show on a non-HD channel? No option to zoom the tiny little window of programming to fill your screen! This is absurd. Even if it can't be done automatically, surely they could have a one-touch button to do it manually? I mean, the box knows I have an HD television... most people do... so why in the hell is it stuck in the 1990's?

And don't even get me started about how hard it is to find the shows you want to watch in the first place. You can't "hide" channels you don't get or don't want to see, so you're forced to scroll through hundreds of the mother-fuckers anyway. The closest they have to a fix is a "favorites" list... but it's not persistent, so you have to enable it every damn time you go to change channels. It's beyond fucking stupid and useless, but so is everything else to do with the Piece of Shit Charter DVR.

More and more I think about getting rid of television altogether so I can just use Apple TV to BUY everything I want to watch and not have to deal with Charter's fucking awful DVR at all. But I'd rather have a smart television that makes it a moot point.

Save us, Apple... you're our only hope!

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Comments

  1. Matt says:

    Oh Dave… even though we live three thousand miles apart, our woes are still the same:

    “the Piece of Shit Charter (in my case Cox/Comcast) DVR has one of the stupidest fucking user interfaces of any consumer electronic devices in the history of consumer electronic devices. It’s ridiculously… almost comically… difficult to navigate their system. And given the eleventy-billion stupid-ass buttons (it’s like they said “hey, what if during an election year you want to revert to Daylight Saving(s) [sic] Time one week earlier… let’s add a button!!!”)on the Charter (Cox/Comcast) DVR remote, it’s unnecessarily complex as well.

    I feel your pain.

  2. kapgar says:

    Hate to break it to you, dude, but you buy your TiVo and pay a monthly service fee and still get ads on that as well.

  3. Zuke says:

    Dave,

    I know you’re an Apple fan, but Microsoft has had a working smart TV solution for years. And when I say years, I mean since 2002.

    Windows Media Center has been included in nearly every release of Vista and 7 out there, was available for XP, and is also for Windows 8. It has native support 4 tuners (can be modified to have 8), supports HDTV, plays DVDS and BluRays, integrates with Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, can playback any collection of videos, music, movies, and pictures, and even tracks your sports teams for you (if you’re into that).

    It’s also the only one that has worked right out the box for me and worked the very best. We have it running on a 5 year old PC hidden away in our entertainment center and outputting to our TV. I don’t need to rewrite code to make it work, I can see everything that is playing on TV for the next two weeks and schedule recordings, and can stream the recordings to all my other PC’s and devices in the home.

    And no one bothers using it, so Microsoft decided to stop bothering to bundle it with Windows. Just an FYI.

    • Dave2 says:

      Oh yes… I actually purchased a Windows Media Center PC plus a big hard drive to manage all my crap back in 2005… mainly because it could work with my Xbox and output to my PC as an “extender.” I hated it. Really hated it. The interface was clunky and made managing my catalog of movies far more difficult than it needed to be because it was laggy, slow, and cumbersome. I could never get a second tuner to be recognized, even though that was a touted feature. But the worst offense was that I would get dropped frames, audio failures, syncing issues, and the color would bleed all over the place on my display. I don’t care how awesome the other features are, if I can’t get good picture and sound, it’s game over. Sure, it probably has been improved over the years, but I didn’t want to suffer through Microsoft’s usual run of bug-fixes and updates to get there. Needless to say, I wasn’t shocked that Microsoft abandoned it because people weren’t using it.

      And Google’s solution, which I never purchased but got to play with, wasn’t much better.

      Which is why I sit here waiting for Apple to save me. :-)

      • Zuke says:

        I’m really sorry to hear that! I’ve used it since 2003 and have never had problems with it like that. Movie support is a newer thing so it wasn’t around back then (you’re right, it’s vital and took them too long to get it).

        Multiple tuners have always worked right out of the box for me, but that’s me. To be fair, I always build my own PC’s so maybe that had something to do with it.

        • Dave2 says:

          Then it must have been an add-on or something, because I was absolutely able to navigate to a folder and play video media files from within Media Center… are you sure it wasn’t a base feature? I don’t remember having to do anything special except to put them in a designated folder.

          The PC I got to run it was a bundle specifically built to run Media Center. Maybe it was my television? I don’t know. I messed around with it a LOT trying to get it to work properly, but never managed to figure it out.

          • Zuke says:

            Sorry, let me clarify; the ability to navigate folders and play videos has always been present but a little to hard to navigate. The “Movie Library” feature is new. It is a different type of layout meant for movies instead. This way you have the art for each movie, reviews, cast and crew, directors, and can sort by type, genre, rating, and/or year.

            There’s a screenshot of the version in Windows Vista. It’s slightly changed now in 7 & 8.

          • Dave2 says:

            Ah, yes… sorry, I misunderstood. All I remember is that it was kind of a nightmare, and you weren’t even allowed sub-folders (?!?) which made it really tough to manage a library. Odd that they’re so late getting around to adding such a critical feature for a media center! :-)

  4. martymankins says:

    Your rant on Charter could easily be applied to Comcast for it’s TV programming delivery and device support.

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